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B.C. Provincial Sales Tax (PST): What’s Taxable and What’s Exempt  

On April 1, 2013, the province of B.C. eliminated the harmonized sales tax (HST) and returned to the federal goods and service tax (GST) plus provincial sales tax (PST) system. The B.C. PST is a retail sales tax that applies when a taxable good or service is purchased, acquired, or brought into B.C. for personal or business use, unless a specific exemption applies.

What’s taxable?

In general, PST applies to:

  • Goods purchased or leased in B.C.
  • Goods brought, sent, or delivered into B.C. for use in B.C.
  • Services to tangible personal property such as vehicle maintenance, computer repair, and furniture restoration
  • Legal services
  • Telecommunication services
  • Software
  • Short-term accommodation
  • Gifts of vehicles, boats, and aircraft

What’s exempt?

PST is not charged on:

  • Food for human consumption (e.g. groceries, restaurant meals)
  • Professional services (other than legal)
  • Personal services such as haircuts and dry cleaning
  • Courier and mail services
  • Sales and rentals of real property (e.g. house, commercial property)
  • Admissions and memberships
  • Transportation fares (e.g. bus, train, ferry, airline)
  • Work-related safety equipment

For a full list of exemptions, refer to the PST Exemptions and Documentation Requirements bulletin.

Common PST Rates:

Items PST Rate  
Goods, software, legal and telecommunication services, services to tangible personal property7%
Vehicles7-10% or 12%
Boats or aircraft7% or 12%
Manufactured buildings7% of 45%-55% of the purchase or lease price

Need more information on how the PST affects you? Contact us today at Insight Online Accountants!

Sources:  Government of British Columbia https://www2.gov.B.C..ca/gov/content/taxes/sales-taxes/pst and the B.C. Small Business Guide to PST https://www2.gov.B.C..ca/assets/gov/taxes/sales-taxes/publications/pst-small-business-guide.pdf