News and Insights

BC Releases Updates To Several PST Bulletins And Notices

Tax Development Feb 28, 2013

With the impending re-implementation of the PST in British Columbia (BC), effective April 1, 2013, and now that the legislation and regulations have been enacted, the government of BC has released a number of updates related to the transition.

Bulletin PST 001, “Registering to Collect Provincial Sales Tax”, has the following revisions:

  • real property contractors must register if they enter into agreements to service real property, and the written contract explicitly states that the customer pays the PST on the goods and the purchase price of the goods are evidenced in here;
  • businesses located in Canada, but outside of BC, are required to register if they meet all of the following criteria for taxable goods, software or a telecommunication service to customers in BC:
    • selling;
    • delivering (including through a third party or electronically);
    • accepting purchase orders (including by telephone, mail, email or Internet); and
    • soliciting business (via advertising or other modes).
    If all the criteria are met, businesses are barred from selling, delivering or providing goods, software or telecommunication services in BC, unless they have a valid PST registration number.
  • registration is also required if the business is located outside of BC and leases: goods in BC; goods that are located in BC at the time of the lease; or goods that are transferred to the lessee in BC; and
  • registration for businesses began on January 2, 2013; if you have not already received a letter in this regard, you must contact the Ministry either online, in person or by fax or mail.

Bulletin PST 002,“Charging, Collecting and Remitting PST” makes the following points:

  • reporting frequency will generally be determined on estimated PST amounts; however, liquor vendors will always report monthly;
  • information regarding the completion of tax returns, refunds and adjustments on tax returns will be provided “in the near future”; and
  • taxpayers are advised to retain sufficient books and records in all cases, including transactions relating to: all goods brought, sent or received in BC for inventory and for your own use; all goods and software taken from inventory for your own use; price reductions provided in relation to sales and leases of goods, and sales of software and taxable services; and refunds and credits provided in relation to sales and leases of goods, and sales of software and taxable services.

PST Notice 2012-018, “Telecommunication Services” includes the following changes or clarifications:

  • telephone calls could include mobile or landline calls;
  • examples of electronic devices also include telephones;
  • exemptions have been revised for the following:
    • basic cable television services provided by means of a wire or cable (does not include other services over and above the minimum level of television services offered by the provider or television services provided by satellite or by Internet);
    • local residential landline (includes calling features, such as call waiting, but does not include charges for long distance calls);
    • conventional paging services that allow a person to receive, but not send, telecommunications by means of a pager;
    • downloading, streaming, viewing or accessing audio or video content that are:
      • educational programs provided by an educational institution;
      • a training or instructional program designed to develop or improve the knowledge, skills or abilities needed by individuals for a particular trade, occupation or profession;
      • a lecture, presentation, seminar, workshop or similar activity designed for educational purposes, if the participants in the activity and the presenter or instructor utilize a telecommunication system to send and receive telecommunications with each other in real time;
    • telecommunication services purchased substantially for resale by a person whose primary business is selling or providing telecommunication services (note: there is a requirementfor the person to self-assess PST on the telecommunication services they use for a purpose other than resale); and
    • telecommunication services (including phone calls and internet access) purchased from an accommodation provider in relation to the purchase of accommodation.

PST Notice 2012-019, “Notice to Tobacco Retail Dealers” and PST Notice 2012-021, “Notice to Tobacco Wholesale Dealers” both note the following adjustments to tobacco tax rates:

  • cigarettes – 21.3¢ per cigarette;
  • tobacco other than cigarettes and cigars – 21.3¢ per gram of tobacco; and
  • cigars – 90.5% of the taxable price to a maximum of $7 per cigar.