News and Insights

British Columbia Provides Additional Information on COVID-19 Sales Tax Changes

Tax Development Sep 02, 2020

The British Columbia Ministry of Finance recently revised Tax Notice 2020-002, “COVID-19 Sales Tax Changes,” to provide more information on the following forms of relief available to taxpayers.

Extended filing and payment due dates: Effective March 24, 2020, the due dates for most filings and payments for carbon tax, motor fuel tax, provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) on accommodation, and tobacco tax ordinarily due between March 24 and September 29 have been extended to September 30, 2020. This extension also applies to taxpayers required to self-assess PST.

Deferred time limit for claiming refunds: Where the normal four-year deadline to claim a refund expires during the state of emergency (which was declared on March 18, 2020), an additional 90 days after the end of the state of emergency has been granted to submit a refund claim. The extended time limit applies to carbon tax, motor fuel tax, PST, and MRDT.

Interest relief: Interest will not be charged from March 24 to September 30, 2020 on any outstanding sales tax account balances. However, the province will begin charging interest again on October 1, 2020.

Delayed PST and carbon tax changes:  The effective date for the following sales tax changes announced in the 2020 budget has been postponed to April 1, 2021:

  • Removal of the PST exemption for carbonated beverages with sugar or either natural or artificial sweeteners;
  • Extended registration requirements for Canadian sellers of goods, as well as Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunication services; and
  • The carbon tax rate increase previously scheduled for April 1, 2020 (similarly, the increase scheduled for April 1, 2021 will be deferred until April 1, 2022).

The B.C. Provincial Budget Tax Changes webpage has also been updated to reflect these changes.