When Do I Register for the PST?

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Cash registerIn it’s infinite wisdom, the province of British Columbia reverted back to a provincial sales tax (PST) on April 1st, 2013. And now the fun begins as when do you register for the PST? Of course, you want to check with your province for it’s particular rules. I believe Saskatchewan and Manitoba at the moment are the only other provinces with a provincial PST. We’ll talk about registering for the PST in British Columbia.

You should register if in the ordinary course of your business:

  • Sell taxable goods like alcoholic beverages, motor vehicles, boats, building materials, household or office furniture
  • Lease taxable goods like motor vehicles, tools and equipment, aircraft and art work
  • Provide services to taxable goods like:
    • Repairing or maintaining automobiles, knives, watches, TVs
    • Applying protective treatments like fabric protection
  • Sell software
  • Provide legal services or telecommunication services
  • Provide four or more units of accommodation

You don’t need to register if you do any of the following:

  • you sell only non-taxable or exempt goods like food for human consumption, bicycles or children’s clothing
  • you provide only non-taxable or exempt services like transportation or dry cleaning services
  • you’re a wholesaler

There is a $10,000 threshold for registering for the PST so, if your sales are below $10,000 then you do not have to register for the PST. However, if you’re already charging GST/HST and you sell a PST taxable service you should register for the PST as well.

You will need to register for the PST even though your service is not taxable, however, you sell a taxable product,

If your business is located outside the province of British Columbia and you solicit to sell taxable products/services to BC residents then you will need to register, collect and remit the PST on those sales. This includes items delivered into BC, even though the head office may be outside BC. If you’re an online seller, the BC government doesn’t consider you to be soliciting to BC residents as long as your website doesn’t specifically target BC residents. Of course, if you were an online seller located in BC this wouldn’t be the case. However, the Consumer Taxation Branch says this, “if you have a website and also solicit sales in British Columbia by other means, such as through targeted Internet advertisements, promotional flyers or newspaper advertisements, you are soliciting sales in the province”.

If you’re still unsure about whether or not to register, you can contact Consumer Taxation Branch at CTBTaxQuestions@gov.bc.ca.

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