Help available for Golden business PST transition

The province and the BC Chamber of Commerce are encouraging businesses to start preparing now for the transition back to the PST.

Although it is months away, the Province of British Columbia and the BC Chamber of Commerce are encouraging businesses to start preparing now for the transition back to the Provincial Sales Tax (PST).

In a recent survey conducted by the BC Chamber of Commerce, in which 907 businesses provincewide took part, it was revealed that 63 per cent of businesses do not feel prepared to make the transition on April, 2013.

“There are many PST resources now available that B.C. businesses need to avail themselves of and be made aware of,” said John Winter, president of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “Many new businesses in B.C. have ever collected the PST, and need to be brought up to speed so that consumers are not negatively impacted at the cash register come April.”

More than 100,000 business will need to register to collect the PST, and about 30,000 of those are new businesses that have only existed under an HST tax system. They will need to learn to administer the PST in tandem with the GST, and adjust their accounting and administrative systems and prepare to collect a second sales tax.

During a recent trip by the Minister of Small Business, Naomi Yamamoto, to Golden, several small business owners expressed their concern with the additional administrative efforts associated with the return of the PST.

The province is already reaching out to businesses to help them prepare for the change. November saw six special seminars covering the general principals of the PST and eTaxBC, and new online service that will make administration of the sales tax easier for businesses. More are currently under development.

Several other tools are also being made available. Businesses can book one-on-one consultations with a ministry tax specialist. They can call a toll-free number (1-877-388-4440) to ask questions, or send them to CTBTaxQuestions@gov.bc.ca.

Letters were also mailed out to more than 160,000 B.C. businesses in late September advising them how to get the necessary information about the PST. The government has also been working closely with the BC Chamber of Commerce.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for Chambers of Commerce to work co-operatively with the provincial government to make sure this knowledge gap is filled,” said Winter. “Together we can ensure that the coming transition is a smooth one.”

More information about the transition can be found at www.PSTinBC.ca.