PST voluntary review a step in the right direction to help small business

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News Editor

Tuesday, April 2 2013

The province is setting up a new outreach program that will allow a business to have a BC government PST specialist do a general review of their accounts and systems to ensure they are set up properly to collect, report, remit and pay the PST. 

The province says the program will be of particular interest to those with no prior PST experience and small to medium businesses. 

This program is not an audit and the goal is to promote voluntary compliance with the PST, so businesses will have a chance to correct any errors without penalty initially. 

The question is, why did it take the government (at any level) this long to get a program like this in place.

Sure, there’s no indication right now that getting help will be as easy as going in to get one’s driver’s license renewed...

But this is so that small and medium businesses can get a little help. Help in making sure they don’t find themselves three years down the road owing a good portion of their business to either the feds or provincial government. This is a good idea.

The federal government could take a hint from this program. Granted, there are a few more thousand businesses out there needing help with GST tracking and remittance, but still, the same situation plays out time and time again (here on Gabriola quite often) and businesses have to try and find monies to pay not only their suppliers and bankers, but also the government.

For the most part, small and medium business owners are trying to do the right thing. But for a lot of them, the first time running their own business can end in tragedy if they don’t have that help working their way through the nefarious and time consuming process that is (now) the GST and PST return. (That would be the return previously albeit briefly known as the HST return)

Any of us stuck with collecting taxes for the government do so with a grimace and a sigh, but for the most part we do it.

All we’d like in return is a little help making sure we do it right, so we can get back to paying attention to our own bottom line.