VICTORIA — The B.C. foodservice industry is anticipating April 1, when Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will replace the province’s Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), essentially making restaurant meals seven per cent cheaper and exempting tax on groceries.
“The 2.7-million guests served every day by British Columbia’s 12,000 restaurateurs look forward to paying seven-per-cent less for restaurant meals,” said Mark von Schellwitz, VP, Western Canada, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).
The HST, which went into effect in July 2010, was hotly contested by B.C. residents, 54 per cent of whom rejected it in a 2011 referendum. “The new PST is being implemented under a more modern and streamlined Provincial Sales Tax Act that is, for technical taxation legislation, clearer, easier to understand and comply with, easier to administer, and which better reflects modern technology and business practices,” reads the government website.
The CRFA predicts B.C.’s restaurant industry will grow 5.1 per cent in 2013, up from a 2.3-per-cent drop in restaurant sales in 2011. According to the CRFA, since the HST was implemented, British Columbia’s cumulative restaurant industry sales growth of two per cent significantly trailed sales growth for the rest of Canada at nine per cent.
B.C. foodservice operators can register for the upcoming PST by visiting gov.bc.ca.