B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson in his legislature office, Feb. 13, 2020. Wilkinson has been calling for deferred sales tax payments to be waived to help businesses recover from COVID-19. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

COVID-19: B.C. sales, carbon tax payments must be paid by Sept. 30

Employer health tax payments delayed to end of 2020

There will be no further extension for businesses to remit payment of B.C.’s provincial sales tax, carbon tax, motor fuel tax, tobacco tax and hotel tax due to COVID-19, the finance ministry says.

Opposition MLAs have called for a waiver or further deferral of provincial taxes to give businesses more time to recover from the coronavirus pandemic effects on operations, after payments were deferred March 23. But the payment deadline remains Sept. 30, Finance Minister Carole James confirmed in a statement Sept. 2.

James is preparing to present the NDP government’s plan for its $1.5 billion business recovery fund, and waiving some of the tax payments was an option that is no longer on the table.

“These administrative deferrals are not being extended further,” the ministry said. “Businesses were never able to spend taxes collected from customers such as PST, but delaying tax remittances removed an administrative burden from potentially short-staffed businesses during the beginning of the pandemic.”

Instalment payments for the NDP government’s new employer health tax on payrolls have been further extended, with the next ones due Dec. 31, Jan. 31 and Feb. 28 of next year.

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While carbon tax payments are due, the next scheduled increase in the B.C. carbon tax has been delayed a second time. Carbon tax will go from $40 to $45 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent in April 2021, a year later than originally planned, and then rise again to $50 per tonne in April 2022.

The finance ministry, wrestling with a deficit estimated at $13.5 billion for the current year, has put off planned tax changes, including the end of a PST exemption for sweetened carbonated beverages. That is now to take effect April 2021, along with new PST registration and collection requirements for e-commerce businesses located outside B.C.


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