B.C. finance minister says new PST on April 1, 2013, same as the old PST

The Canadian Press

VICTORIA - Taxpayers in B.C. will officially begin paying the old provincial sales tax in addition to the goods and services tax starting April 1 next year.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon introduced legislation today that replaces the harmonized sales tax which was rejected by residents in last summer's referendum.

Falcon says the return to the PST brings back all the old exemptions, meaning consumers will no longer pay seven-per-cent tax on restaurant meals, gym memberships, bicycles, movie tickets and haircuts.

The minister says he still can't stomach the PST — which he once called a stupid tax — but now he calls it a better stupid tax.

Falcon says the major improvement to the new PST is it provides online access for businesses, which makes it easier to register and update accounts.

The government will conduct business outreach seminars this fall to help businesses familiarize themselves with the return to the PST.