British Columbia (“BC”) has re-issued bulletin PST-107, “Telecommunications.” This revised document contains additional details for each type of telecommunication service.
Residential phone services, payphone cards and toll-free numbers, are exempt from BCPST. Taxable phone services include services purchased for business use, mobile or cellular devices, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), long-distance calling cards, credit card calls and 1-900 numbers. Paging, teleconferencing and videoconferencing are exempt under certain conditions, but taxable if the criteria are not met.
Internet access is generally taxable. The bulletin now has a useful table which lists taxable and exempt website subscriptions, as well as specifics for downloading or streaming content, web hosting, auction or shopping sites and data backup services.
Television services (including cable, satellite, internet television and pay-per-view) and network services are taxable. BC has addressed dedicated telecommunication services and introduced a proportional tax formula to calculate PST based on the amount of distance within the province.
General telecommunication exemptions include:
- services provided in relation to accommodation;
- emergency communication services;
- out-of-province services;
- services for educational or training purposes;
- broadcasting, exhibition, sale or lease; and
- photographers and videographers (subject to certain criteria).
BC has also added a new section to this document targeted towards telecommunication service providers, from both the sales and purchasing perspectives. Sales of services and equipment are taxable, while exemptions exist for sales to First Nations, diplomats, federal government departments and agencies, and other retailers. Purchases of goods and services by a telecommunication service provider are generally taxable, excluding containers/packaging material that form part of goods for sale, purchases from out-of-province suppliers and goods/services for resale. There are also examples of situations where self-assessment is required.
Lastly, packaged services and bundled sales are discussed, along with examples for services separately itemized on an invoice.