All businesses based in British Columbia that sell taxable goods, software, or services need to complete British Columbia PST registration. In addition, some businesses based outside the province need to register to collect PST if they sell to British Columbia. An experienced Canadian tax lawyer can advise you on the steps you need to take. Call Jeremy Scott Law at (902) 403-7201 for a consultation.
Do I Need to Complete British Columbia PST Registration?
Companies need to complete PST registration if they are located in British Columbia and their business involves:
- Selling taxable goods — These include alcoholic and soda beverages, construction materials, cannabis and vapour products, furniture, and software.
- Leasing taxable goods — Under this category fall vehicles, equipment, and art.
- Providing certain services — These are repairs, installation of taxable goods, legal services, and telecommunication services.
Under some circumstances, selling accommodation also requires PST registration. In most other cases, however, it is unnecessary for a business to register. This includes when a company is selling exempt goods (like bicycles and children’s clothing) or providing non-taxable services (such as transportation and dry cleaning). There is also no requirement for wholesalers who do not make retail sales and small sellers to register.
Who Is Considered a Small Seller in British Columbia?
A business is considered a small seller if it meets the definition in Section 1 of the Provincial Sales Tax Act.
- A small business must have gross sales of taxable goods and services of no more than $10,000 in the past 12 months. In addition, its estimated gross sales for the next 12 months must be $10,000 or less.
- The business must have no established commercial premises; for instance, a seller may operate out of his or her home.
- In the past 12 months, the only tangible sales of personal property and software must have been retail sales.
- The business must not sell motor vehicles, accommodation, liquor (with the exception of sales under a special event permit or at an auction), or cannabis products.
- The business cannot be a lessor, independent sales contractor, or contractor that acquires goods to improve real property.
Businesses must meet all the above requirements to be considered small sellers in British Colombia.
Requirements for Out-of-Province Sellers
Companies only need to register for PST if they have a business presence in British Columbia. This goes beyond merely shipping items to the province on occasion. Sellers who are considered to have a business presence will be regularly selling taxable goods or services, delivering these goods (which includes deliveries through a third party), accepting purchase orders, and soliciting sales. Businesses can find more information about who is an out-of-province seller in the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) Bulletin.
For help determining if you need to collect PST, talk to a Canadian tax attorney. Schedule a consultation with Jeremy Scott Law.
How Do I Register to Collect PST?
Businesses have three options to register to collect PST: online, in person, and by mail or fax.
Completing the Registration Online
The simplest way to complete British Columbia PST registration is online using eTaxBC. The nine-step process takes between 15 and 25 minutes. It is a particularly ideal option for businesses offering vacation rentals because the process walks applicants through a questionnaire to determine if they are eligible to register.
Once they have registered online, sellers can use eTaxBC to manage everything related to their British Columbia sales taxes, including returns and payments. An account also provides a way to communicate with Ministry of Finance staff.
Registering in Person
To register in person, applicants must visit a Service BC centre. The Government of British Columbia website has a list of centres around the country. Since each location offers a different range of services, it is important to check what is available at a particular office in advance. All the centres allow sellers to use their computers to register through the online system, but it is necessary to come prepared with relevant documentation.
Sending Your Registration by Mail or Fax
Lastly, applicants can fill out an Application for Registration for Provincial Sales Tax (PST) form to mail or fax to the Ministry of Finance. Sellers who mail their forms should keep a photocopy for their records.
What Documents Do I Need to Register for PST?
Applicants need a few basic documents to register for PST:
- Sellers who have a federal business number (BN) should also provide it along with a recent GST return to enable the Ministry of Finance to verify information about their business. Sellers who do not have a BN yet will receive one along with their PST number when they register.
- Incorporated businesses need to provide their incorporation number.
- Businesses that require a license to sell their products must provide licences for each of their locations. These may include a liquor licence, a cannabis retail store licence (for non-medical cannabis), or a Health Canada Sale Medical Purposes Licence (for medical cannabis). Such businesses also need to provide a copy of either their bill of sale or purchase agreement, their lease agreement, or their third-party operating agreement, depending on whether the seller owns or leases the building or just manages operations. Finally, businesses need to provide the addresses of all the locations where they sell liquor or cannabis.
- Sellers and leasers of vehicles need to provide their motor dealer number.
- Businesses selling accommodation must supply the addresses of all their property locations.
- Sellers of all types of goods and services should provide an estimate of their monthly taxable sales or leases and the amount they made in national sales in the last 12 months — this will be an estimate for sellers who have been in business less than one year.
Receiving Support for Your British Columbia PST Registration
The processing of a British Columbia PST registration can take up to 21 days, although you may need to wait even longer if you make a mistake or miss a piece of documentation in your application. To prevent problems with your registration and to gain further advice about the tax implications of selling in British Columbia, work with an experienced tax lawyer. Request a consultation with an attorney at Jeremy Scott Law by calling (902) 403-7201.