April 1 is going to come around in no time and it will be too soon for business owners unprepared for the transition out of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in B.C.
Businesses have to register for the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) in preparation for a return to the tax system in place before the controversial HST was introduced in B.C. after the last provincial election.
The Whistler Chamber of Commerce is helping businesses make the transition back to charging the PST and the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). The B.C. finance ministry is offering a two-hour information session to Whistler businesses on Jan. 30 starting at 9 a.m. The Wednesday session will take place in the Conference Centre. There is no charge for business operators who register for the session.
Two similar sessions will be offered to Squamish and Pemberton business operators the day before. Both sessions are set to start at 2 p.m. The Pemberton seminar will be held at the Pemberton Community Centre while the Squamish Adventure Centre is the location in Squamish.
There is more information on all three sessions at websites for each Chamber of Commerce.
The first step in preparing for the taxation shift is to register for the PST. There are three avenues to register – by mail or fax, in person at a Service BC Centre or online. Details of the three options are outlined at www.pstinbc.ca and information can be obtained by phone through a toll-free information number set up by the Ministry of Finance. The phone number is 1-877-388-4440.
The minister of state for small business, Naomi Yamamoto, has encouraged business operators to register online now for the transition to the PST.
"This early opportunity to register online is just one of the ways government is working with businesses to help them transition back to the PST,” said Yamamoto through a news release. “We're also offering webinars, PST seminars, extended hours for phone assistance and special consultations with tax specialists."
Mike de Jong, the B.C. minister of finance, indicated the provincial government is making it as easy as possible to move from the current system back to separate provincial and federal taxes.
"Our government is committed to ensuring businesses have the support they need to make a smooth transition back to the PST,” said de Jong. “We're reaching out with improvements like online registration so that they can focus on running successful businesses."
Check with Pique in print and online on Thursday for more as the GST and PST return to replace the HST in B.C.