B.C.’s carbon tax is the highest in Canada, collected by businesses along with motor fuel tax, provincial sales tax and hotel tax. (Black Press Media)

B.C.’s carbon tax is the highest in Canada, collected by businesses along with motor fuel tax, provincial sales tax and hotel tax. (Black Press Media)

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Provincial tax payments estimated at $6 billion come due for struggling B.C. businesses as of Sept. 30, with temporary deferrals on submitting collected provincial sales tax, carbon tax, motor fuel tax, tobacco tax and hotel tax having run out as the COVID-19 pandemic carries on.

Businesses pleaded for more time to pay, but B.C. NDP leader John Horgan says the temporary deferral has worked, and its intent was to take administrative pressure off small businesses, not to forgive what is owed.

“The objective of deferring that was to not put another burden onto small businesses to do their regular remittances,” Horgan said at a campaign stop in Surrey Sept. 30. “The money is there, the money will be transferred. The objective was to take the pressure off businesses and I think we accomplished that.”

As the coronavirus pandemic dragged on into summer, the Business Council of B.C. recommended the deferred payments be extended to the end of 2020. Former finance minister Carole James considered that option and rejected it, along with a proposal by the B.C. Liberals to waive the payments entirely for up to 90 days this spring and summer.

James did extend the instalment payment deadline for the NDP government’s new employer health tax through to January, as employers adjusted to a new payroll cost to replace revenue lost when Medical Services Plan premiums were phased out this year.

RELATED: Board of Trade fears ‘second wave’ of business closures

RELATED: Business Council calls for more time to pay B.C. taxes

Horgan pointed out the key difference between those taxes that guided the government’s choice.

“The PST, the carbon tax are taxes that are collected directly from consumers,” Horgan said. “Those are taxes that consumers pay. The employer health tax is a tax that employers pay.”

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the reality for tourism and other businesses is that they need more temporary assistance.

“In Victoria the hotels are empty,” Wilkinson said at a campaign stop in Port Moody Sept. 30. “The souvenir shops are going broke.”

Wilkinson was in Port Moody Sept. 30, promoting a much larger tax break in the form of eliminating PST for an entire year if he is elected premier on Oct. 24. He wants to bring it back the following year at a three per cent rate, which he says would leave $1,700 more in the pocket of the average family of four. That would add an estimated $8 billion to provincial deficits that are headed for nearly $13 billion this fiscal year without the PST break.

Business Council chief policy officer Jock Finlayson recommended to Horgan’s government that the tax payments should be deferred to the end of 2020 but no further. It amounts to a loan to struggling business with little impact on the deficit because interest rates are at historic lows.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read