COVID-19 B.C. tax and tax-related changes, incentives and benefits

The B.C. government is bringing financial relief for people and businesses as we address the effects of COVID-19

Last updated: October 5, 2020

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Tax incentives

On September 17, 2020, government announced the following tax incentives as part of B.C.'s Economic Recovery Plan: 

  • B.C. PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment
    A temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program where corporations may apply to receive an amount equal to the PST they paid between September 17, 2020 and September 30, 2021 on qualifying machinery and equipment.

  • B.C. Increased Employment Incentive 
    A tax credit for employers who create new jobs for B.C. workers or increase the payroll for existing low- or medium-income employees in the last quarter ending December 31, 2020.


Tax and tax-related changes

The following provincial tax and tax related changes were made to help people and businesses due to COVID-19.

B.C. has extended certain filing and payment deadlines for the following taxes.

Employer Health Tax

Logging Tax

Sales Taxes

  • Provincial sales tax (including municipal and regional district tax*)
  • Carbon tax
  • Motor fuel tax
  • Tobacco tax

See the following notices for more information:

*Municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) is the additional 2 or 3% tax on accommodation

Updated September 2, 2020

The following tax changes announced in Budget 2020 are postponed and will not take effect until April 1, 2021:

  • Eliminating the PST exemption for carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners

  • Expanded registration requirements for Canadian sellers of goods, along with Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunication services

The tax measure announced in Budget 2020 aligning the carbon tax rates with the federal carbon pricing backstop is postponed until April 1, 2021. Carbon tax rates (PDF, 126KB) will remain at their current levels until March 31, 2021.

See Notice 2020-002, COVID-19 Sales Tax Changes (PDF, 180KB) for more information. Updated September 2, 2020

The four-year time limit for claiming a sales tax refund is being extended in some cases. For more information, see Notice 2020-002, COVID-19 Sales Tax Changes (PDF, 180KB). Updated September 2, 2020

School tax rates for commercial properties are reduced for the 2020 tax year.

On April 16, 2020, the school property tax was lowered again and classes 7 and 8 are now included. Overall, the commercial property tax bill for most businesses are reduced by 25% on average.

Rural property tax due dates have not changed.

For rural area properties, late payment penalties for classes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are postponed to November 3, 2020. Learn more about important property tax dates for rural area properties.

For municipal property tax due dates and penalty dates, please contact your municipality or review your tax notice.

Support for local governments so they can meet their operational costs and required remittances to regional districts, regional hospital districts, TransLink and transit authorities, BC Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority and other taxing authorities.

  • Authorized to borrow, interest-free, from their existing capital reserves to help pay for operating expenses, such as employee salaries

  • Provincial school tax remittances are delayed until the end of the year

  • Greater flexibility to carry debt for an additional year

The Federal government announced benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 income tax returns on time.

This will also apply to the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit payments for July 2020 to September 2020. Updated May 21, 2020

An additional one-time payment will be made in July 2020 on top of the regular climate action tax credit amount for qualifying individuals and families.

The previously scheduled credit increase effective July 2020 remains the same.

The Federal government announced benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 income tax returns on time. This will also apply to the enhanced B.C. climate action tax credit payment for July 2020. Updated July 7, 2020

From March 24 to September 30, 2020, most debt collection activities were suspended.

Most collection activities resume effective October 1, 2020.

If you would like to discuss flexible payment options or your account, staff are available to assist you.

To contact us, or for information on payment options, refer to your Statement of Account.

From March 24 to September 30, 2020, interest will not be charged on outstanding amounts of most provincial taxes and royalties.

People and businesses that benefit from this interest relief will be notified directly through their Statement of Account.

Interest will be charged again effective October 1, 2020.

For more information and a list of affected taxes and royalty programs, see the Order in Council.

 


B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers

The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is a one time, tax-free $1,000 payment for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. 

The benefit has been expanded to include British Columbians who lost their ability to work between March 1 and March 14, 2020. Updated June 24, 2020

Find out if you’re eligible, what you need to apply, and how to apply.


B.C. business resources

The following resources are available to assist B.C. businesses during COVID-19: