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BC PST Exemptions

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Provincial Sales Tax   ->   BC PST   -> BC PST exemptions

BC PST Exemptions

BC Provincial Sales Tax Act (PST Act) Part 6 Exemptions

The entire Provincial Sales Tax Exemption and Refund Regulation (PSTERR) in pdf format can be found on the BC Consumer Taxes Publications web page - scroll down to Legislation & Regulations.  The BC Laws website has the html version of the Provincial sales Tax Exemption and Refund Regulation (PSTERR).  Many sections are referenced in the list of exempt items below.

Effective April 1, 2019, electricity in BC will be exempt from PST.  Effective January 1, 2018, the rate on taxable purchases of electricity (e.g. electricity for business use) was reduced to 3.5% from 7%, until March 31, 2019.  See Bulletin PST 203 Energy, Energy Conservation and the ICE Fund Tax.

Some of the items which are exempt from PST in BC on a permanent basis:

bulleteffective February 18, 2015, lift chairs designed to facilitate standing up or sitting down, when sold on the prescription of a practitioner
bulletsales of used clothing or used footwear if the purchase price of the item of clothing or footwear is less than $100 - PSTERR s. 10
bullet clothing patterns, and yarn or fabrics purchased for the purpose of making or repairing clothing - PSTERR s. 11
bulletwater in liquid or frozen form, and food products for human consumption, other than prescribed food products - PST Act s. 139.
bullet clothing and footwear for children 14 and under, including baby blankets, cloth diapers, mittens and gloves, belts, uniforms (including sports, school or recreational uniforms), etc.  More information on this topic can be found in the BC Small Business and Revenue Bulletin PST 201 Exempt Children's Clothing and Footwear (pdf) - PSTERR s. 9.  The exemption does not apply to athletic equipment, including supports and padding (e.g. shin guards, shoulder harnesses).  See below for more information.
bullet abrasives, dies (see detailed definition - does not include die set or tap set used for cutting threads), grinding wheels, moulds, jigs, patterns, steel wool, etc. that are consumed or used in the manufacture, production, service or repair of tangible personal property or real property - PSTERR s. 39.
bullet books containing no advertising, employee newsletters, student yearbooks, sheet music, magazines or periodicals if at least 10% of content is technical, literary, editorial and pictorial content; newspapers if at least 20% of content is editorials, news and articles of local or common interest content - PSTERR s. 16, Bulletin PST 205 Books, Magazines, Newspapers and Other Publications.
bullet insulation and other tangible personal property used to conserve energy, as per PSTERR s. 30.  This includes thermal insulation, weather stripping, polystyrene forming blocks which will serve as primary insulation for a completed building, wind-powered generating equipment, solar panels, etc.  See Bulletin PST 203 Energy, Energy Conservation and the ICE Fund Tax.
bulletsafety equipment and apparel as per PSTERR s. 35, including residential smoke alarms with a price of less than $250, bicycle lights, children's car seats, first aid kits, safety helmets/vests, etc. See Bulletin PST 100 Safety Equipment and Protective Clothing.
bulletnon-motorized bicycles, non-motorized tricycles with each wheel having a diameter of 350 mm or more; aircraft powered by a turbine, etc. as per PSTERR s. 55 re transportation
bullet many drugs, household medical aids, and health-related equipment and supplies, as per PSTERR s. 3 to 5
bulletdevices for use in transportation of individuals with disabilities, as per PSTERR s. 7.  No new bulletin is available yet
bullet equipment lease/rental, if the lease rental includes an operator of the equipment - see Bulletin PST 315, Rentals and Leases of Goods (pdf).
bullet work-related safety equipment, such as safety glasses, safety belts, chainsaw safety pads, and many other items, as per PSTERR s. 32.
bulletgeneral safety equipment, such as child car seats, life jackets, portable fire extinguishers, and many other items as per PSTERR s. 34 & 35.

Children's Clothing & Footwear, and Team Purchases

The exemption certificate that is required in order to purchase adult size clothing and footwear for children under 15 is FIN425 (pdf).  This form can also be used when an organization, such as a sports team, is purchasing exempt merchandise for multiple children.  Most retailers have this form on hand to be completed when needed.


From BC PST Frequently Asked Questions:

To substantiate an exemption from PST on specified goods used for a farm purpose, a qualifying farmer will be required to provide to the seller or lessor of the goods either their Farmer Identity Card issued by the BC Agriculture Council or a completed declaration form.

FIN 458 Certificate of Exemption - Farmer is available on BC PST Forms page.

Exemptions for farming, fertilizers, fishing and aquaculture are included in PSTERR s. 44 to 49 (tangible personal property), and s. 74 to 76 (services).  The Schedules at the end of the PSTERR list tangible personal property (TPP) for farm purposes, fishing equipment for commercial fishing purposes, and TPP for aquaculture purposes.

As per the BC 2016 Budget, effective February 17, 2016 telescopic handlers, skid steers and polycarbonate greenhouse panels obtained by qualifying farmers for use solely for a farm purpose are exempt from provincial sales tax.  The panels must be purchased in a minimum quantity of 500 square metres to qualify.

Bulletins for Farmers, Fishers and Aquaculturists are available on the BC PST Forms & Publications page.

Real Property Contractors

When a contractor is hired to supply and install improvements to real property, for instance to do a kitchen renovation, then depending on the contractor, PST may still be payable on the tangible personal property (TPP) which is supplied and installed.  See Bulletin PST 501 Real Property Contractors (pdf):

  1. Generally, the contractor must pay PST on the goods that are supplied and installed in the course of the renovation.  In this case, the customer would not be charged PST on the portion of the price that is applicable to the goods.  However, because the contractor has paid the PST, this will be built into the price charged.
  2. The contractor is exempt from paying the PST on the goods that are supplied and installed, if:
    1. the contractor and their customer enter into an agreement that specifically states that the customer is liable for the PST on the goods, and
    2. the agreement sets out the purchase price of the goods.

Other resources:

BC PST Forms & Publications

Revised: July 30, 2019

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