During the summer of 2011, British Columbians had the opportunity to participate in a province-wide referendum on the harmonized sales tax (HST). On August 26, 2011, Elections BC announced that British Columbians had voted in favour of eliminating the HST and returning to the provincial sales tax (PST) plus federal goods and services tax (GST) system. Good news for accountants, bookkeepers, and Vancouver technical writers!
Following the referendum results, government committed to make the transition back to the PST and GST system as quickly as possible. The Provincial Sales Tax Act received royal assent on May 31, 2012 and PST and GST will be re-implemented on April 1, 2013.
Yes, that is April Fools’ Day! But no fooling here—this is a case of BC citizens refusing to be forced to pay an additional tax. When HST was introduced in July 2010, many services that were previously just subject to 5% GST were suddenly subject to 12% HST. That’s a huge difference and it affected people and businesses alike. The good news for anyone who wants to hire a technical writer is that our rates will now be going down by 7%. No fooling!
So if you need the services of a technical writer—or any other service provider, for that matter—you’d be better off if you wait until April 1. Exceptions: legal services are subject to the 7% PST, as are services provided with regards to goods (for example, car repairs, computer installations, and so on).
If you need any help updating your procedural documentation to reflect the change in taxes, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I am currently helping a major Crown Corporation to prepare for the tax change but I will be available on—you guessed it—April Fools’ Day!