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PST return looms for B.C. business
Undoing the harmonized sales tax and establishing a modernized version of the 60-year-old provincial sales tax is the biggest task facing Premier Christy Clark’s government in the brief legislative sitting that precedes the May 14 provincial election.
Finance Minister Mike de Jong introduced the transition legislation Wednesday. It includes provisions for transactions that straddle the transition date such as new home purchases.
The bill to replace the HST runs nearly 200 pages, and it will add accounting costs for business as well as taking away business input tax credits that match those available under the federal Goods and Services Tax. The government has given itself a deadline of April 1 to make the switch for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The administrative burden of the switch starts with businesses reprogramming cash registers and other systems to go back to collecting two separate sales taxes. One of the few modern touches to the new PST is the ability of more than 100,000 businesses to register online at www.gov.bc.ca/etaxbc/register, and view online instructions to help make the transition.
About 30,000 B.C. businesses have started up since 2010, and operators may have no experience with the old sales tax system.