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

District Forest Service buildings in Birch Island, 1960’s. (Upper North Thompson Reflections photo)
A look at the BC Forestry Service

The following is an excerpt from Upper North Thompson Reflections By M.E.… Continue reading

Barriere Secondary School grade 12 students Angela Rutschke, Micheal Reierson, Morgan Bennett, Benton Kibble, and Cassidy Sager were onsite in Louis Creek last week stacking firewood as they fundraise for their Grad 2021 celebrations. (Photo submitted by 2021 Grad)
Barriere Grad Class stacking on the fundraising for 2021

The Barriere Secondary School grade 12 class has been hard atwork recently… Continue reading

Munro’s Clothing and Accessories is a great place for Barriere and area residents to find all the latest in ladies fashions. Trista Stamer was spotted checking out the merchandise at this local small business last Tuesday. (Jill Hayward photo)
Small business owners must have ingenuity, courage, and dedication

Barriere has almost 100 small businesses servicing the area

Barriere Country Feeds is a long time small business in the community, and has been owned by the Petersen family since 1996. Pictured are employees Brenda Jones and Mike Hlewka. (Jill Hayward photo)
Canadian entrepreneurs forging the way forward

BDC Small Business Week ttakes place from Oct. 18 - 24

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

Most Read