Get ready to welcome it back

How to B.C. business owners can ready themselves for the return of the PST.

With the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) replacing the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) next spring, the Ministry of Finance is making new tools and information available for businesses regarding steps to take to ensure a smooth transition.

Before PST is reintroduced on April 1, 2013, businesses will have a number of opportunities to engage in online webinars and in-person seminars. The provincial government is also reaching out to chambers of commerce and business associations to help offer the information businesses will need for the transition. A new provincial sales tax notice, General Transitional Rules for the Re-Implementation of the Provincial Sales Tax, has been recently introduced, and it describes how and when PST applies to transactions that straddle April 1, 2013.

Businesses with further questions also have the opportunity for one-on-one consultations with a ministry tax specialist by calling their toll-free line with questions about the new PST (1-877-388-4440), or they can email questions to

Registration for PST will start on January 2, 2013, and a further bulletin, Registering to Collect PST, has recently been issued to help businesses understand whether they need to register.

These bulletins and notices, the online sign-up form for the one-on-one consultations, and the federal transitional rules can be found in the business section of

A new e-services option, eTaxBC, will also be available for online registration, return filing and payment and account maintenance. The new online service is one of the improvements that will make administration of the sales tax easier for businesses. This service will be live on January 2, 2013.

As committed, the PST is being re-implemented with all permanent exemptions. Consumers will pay PST only on those goods and services that were subject to the tax before July 1, 2010. Consumers will again not pay PST on purchases like food, restaurant meals, bicycles, gym memberships, movie tickets and others, nor for personal services like haircuts.