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

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was elected president of the Union of B.C. Municipalitiesin September 2019. She helped guide the 190-member organization through the coronavirus pandemic. (UBCM photo)
Sooke mayor front-line commander of the coronavirus pandemic

Maja Tait played pivotal role during COVID-19 crisis

Sooke School District No. 62 superintendent Scott Stinson explains that most block classes at Belmont Secondary will be halved. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Sooke School District opens conversation on catchment boundary changes

Feedback solicited at virtual town hall Oct. 28

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

The Nightmare Before Christmas is the featured presentation in the first-ever Drive-In Movie and Concert Event, hosted by Harmony Project Sooke on Saturday (Oct. 31) at the SEAPARC parking lot. (Contributed photo)
TOP 5: Suggestions for your week ahead

We’ve got your weekend plans covered

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read