Tax memo: British Columbia PST regulations released

Memo No. 2013-09

On February 28, 2013, British Columbia’s legislature gave royal assent to The Provincial Sales Tax Transitional Provisions and Amendments Act, 2013. This resulted in the March 1, 2013, release of:

  • the unofficial consolidated Provincial Sales Tax Act (the PSTA);
  • the Provincial Sales Tax Regulation (PST Regulation);
  • the Provincial Sales Tax Exemption and Refund Regulation (Exemption and Refund Regulation);
  • the consolidated Motor Fuel Tax Act; and
  • the New Housing Transition Tax and Rebate Act.

Businesses and their advisers have been anxiously awaiting the release of regulations to complete the missing elements, in particular the provisions to reinstate key exemptions that existed under the previous British Columbia Social Service Tax (SST).

This Tax memo highlights significant provisions of the PST Regulation and the Exemption and Refund Regulation.

The B.C. Ministry of Finance (the Ministry) stated on numerous occasions that with the implementation of the B.C. PST on April 1, 2013, it intended to re-implement all permanent exemptions that were in place under the old SST. The PST Regulation and the Exemption and Refund Regulation are the fruit of that promise and provide exemptions relating to specific consumer products, industry and business, various services and intercompany transactions.

The PST Regulation details the prescribed areas in the PSTA that do not relate specifically to the PST exemptions or refunds, but addresses the calculations for determining the amount of tax, the timing or dates that tax is payable in a specific situation and other areas dealing with changes in use. The PST Regulation also sets out particular rules relating to compliance matters, such as due dates for the PST return, when payments are deemed to be received by the Ministry, information to be contained on receipts and invoices, and records retention and penalty provisions, among other compliance matters.