As voted by British Columbians, the provincial sales tax (PST) and the goods and services tax (GST) will be re-implemented to replace the harmonized sales tax (HST ) effective April 1, 2013.  How did this happen?  BC held a mail-in ballot referendum that closed on August 5th, 2011 with the results being 54.73% of British Columbians whom submitted ballots wanting to replace the HST with the old PST + GST model.  Outside of the debate as to whether a return to the previous PST/GST model was a positive decision or not, the Provincial Government of British Columbia announced that it would listen to the voice of its population and eliminate the HST in the province.

As the April 1st, 2013 effective date grows closer, the large question now for many businesses is “what now?”  The transition will not be a return to the PST in its past form as the old legislation were introduced over 60 years ago and with the advent of new technology and business practices, updates to the legislation were much needed.  As stated by the B.C. Provincial Government, “The new PST Act implements a tax that is substantially the same as the old PST, and provides all the same permanent exemptions – but in a new, modern, clear, comprehensive Act.”

As a business owner or the person responsible for implementing these taxation changes in your organization you may be interested in these basics tidbits issued by the B.C. Provincial Government on the reinstatement of the PST/GST (

When will registration information be available?

In December 2012, letters were sent out to businesses with information on how to register.

When will I be able to register my business for the PST?

Online registration for businesses will commence on January 2, 2013, with the PST implementation effective April 1, 2013.

Do I use my old PST registration number?

No, you will need to apply for a new PST registration number.

What is the format of the new PST registration numbers?

When you register for the new PST you will be assigned a new PST number. The new PST numbers will be 11 characters long in the format: PST-1234-5678

How will I register for collecting PST?

Online:  E-services website for businesses with a business for new businesses

You will be able to remit your taxes:

Online through the E-services website (letters sent to businesses in December 2012 will have additional information on the E-service website); At your bank (in person or online); By mail

Do you need assistance in selecting or updating your current financial or ERP software to meet the new PST/GST taxation model going into effect on April 1, 2013?  Call Essential Software Solutions at 1.800.661.4456 or visit our website at for more information on how we can make this tax transition easy for you and your business.

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