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

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read