Business owners prepare for the return of PST

To many small and medium-sized business owners, it can feel as painful as a root canal, as complicated as

To many small and medium-sized business owners, it can feel as painful as a root canal, as complicated as the math required to land the Curiosity Rover on Mars and as unwelcome as the flatulent cousin who crashed on your couch last New Year’s Eve.

It – is the Provincial Sales Tax … and it – is coming back.

One year after a referendum that saw B.C. voters roundly dump the HST (while rightly dumping on the ham-fisted way the B.C. government introduced the harmonized tax) bureaucrats in Victoria are busily beavering away, creating a to-do list as they gear up for the transition on April 1, 2013.

It will be a time of mixed emotions for business operators. In July, 2010, many were not sorry to see the backside of the PST. It was a tax with such a dizzying array of rules and regulations, a business owner often had to figure out whether or not to charge tax based on the color or cut of the item sold – or based on who the product was being sold to. Example: pencils sold to architects were taxable. To artists? Not so much. Why? I’m sure a tax specialist could tell you, but I can’t.

Many others saw their businesses hit when the haircuts, travel agent fees, funerals and movie tickets, previously provincial tax exempt, were now seeing an extra seven per cent added to the retail price. And all absorbed the anger, uncertainty and frustration expressed by customers dealing with a tax they hadn’t asked for, and didn’t entirely understand.

Whatever their feelings – all B.C. business owners will have to make sure they’re prepared for the change.

Here is some early important stuff to know. Print it out, tack it to something. And be sure to look at it before midnight on March 31, 2013.

Depending on how long you’ve been in business, you’re going to have to register, or re-register for the PST. Registration begins Jan. 2, 2013. That gives you two three months to get it done.

· Look for detailed instruction letters from the Ministry of Finance sometime in December, that is, if government is able to meet its own timelines.

· You can register online. You can also register by phone or fax or through the mail.

·You can also file and remit PST online once it’s all up and running.

· Those walk-in Service BC centers will also be a point of information, delivery and contact during the registration process.

Government swears up and down this will be a smooth transition, and you, the business owner, will have access to all the information and help you’ll need to welcome back PST. Unfortunately, the tax, and all its niggly rules, will come back in largely the way it went out.

Somewhere in B.C., a pencil salesman quietly weeps. But you won’t. Because you’ll be prepared.

Shachi Kurl

BC and Yukon director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

CFIB is a non-partisan, non-profit business association that represents 109,000 independent business owners across the country, with 10,000 in B.C.

Just Posted

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

TNRD removes sand from Vavenby’s well

To help the crew in removing the sand from the well, a special “shovel” was created

Fire department holds open house

Public event held as part of Fire Prevention Week

Above and Beyond awards for heroes of fire and floods

Nominations open for British Columbians until January.

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Have you heard about Black Press scholarships?

Up to 37 scholarships are awarded each year to students throughout British Columbia

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Most Read