Goodbye HST, hello GST and PST: what your co-op needs to know

On April 1, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 12% will be replaced by the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) and 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST), where applicable. In general this is good news for co-ops because even though there is no PST rebate, your co-op will not need to pay PST on most services.

There are some changes to how the new PST will be applied and what will be PST-exempt. Here’s a link to what’s taxable under the PST and what’s not.

There are some important things you need to consider now in the transition to the new taxation system. Here’s some advice that may save your co-op money:

  • If your co-op is currently eligible for an HST rebate, to get your usual HST refund ask your vendors to provide invoices dated on or before March 31, 2013.  The provincial portion of HST rebates will no longer apply on or after April 1, 2013. If you miss this you could incur the cost for PST which is not covered by a rebate. From April 1 onward, the rebate will only apply to the GST. Co-ops eligible now for HST rebates will be eligible for a GST rebate.
  • If your co-op is currently eligible for an HST rebate and leases equipment such as photocopiers, it may be advantageous for you to buy out your lease. Even if an original lease agreement was signed prior to April 1, payments after that date could include PST, which is not eligible for a rebate.
  • If your co-op has a major capital project underway (building remediation, roofing, or other construction projects) that will be finalized before April 1, make sure that you get final invoices dated prior to April 1. Construction companies will be charged PST on projects that continue past April 1 and could pass that cost on to your co-op. Consult with your management company or get other professional advice about the best way to approach any continuing project.

Your co-op does not need to register for or pay PST as co-ops do not provide taxable goods or services.
 
Here’s how you can get more information about the new tax system:
 
PST Frequently Asked Questions
Or contact: 
Telephone: 1-877-388-4440 (toll free within Canada)
Email: CTBTaxQuestions@gov.bc.ca
 
GST/HST Notice: Elimination of the HST in British Columbia in 2013 – Questions and Answers - March 2012, Canada Revenue Agency.