AN UPDATE FROM WHISTLER & BC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
BC Government Listens to Urgent Business Feedback
March 23, 2020
Dear Chamber Members,
We heard you.
As you may know, today the BC Government announced a COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes $5 billion allocated for programs that support businesses, workers, and economic recovery. We know you’re eager to gain more clarity on how to access these initiatives, and the province will provide these details soon. In the meantime, here are the major points:
- Employer Health Tax – Effective immediately, businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020.
- PST – Extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax until Sept. 30, 2020.
- Carbon Tax – The scheduled April 1 increase to the provincial carbon tax, as well as the new PST registration requirements on e-commerce and the implementation of PST on sweetened carbonated drinks, will be delayed and their timing will be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020.
- Property Tax – We shared with the government that property tax relief would be helpful for businesses right now. The government responded by cutting the provincial school tax on property in half for a total savings of $500 million for commercial and industrial businesses in Class 4, 5 and 6.
- B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
One time tax-free $1000 payment for those British Columbians who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit or Emergency Support Benefit.
- Expanding B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit
- Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment.
- As many as 86% of British Columbians will see some extra money from this enhancement.
FOR PUBLIC SERVICES
Non-Profits, service delivery agency and child care providers – $1.7 Billion will go towards investments in housing and shelter supports, income and disability assistance programs and crucial health services.
Student loans – the Province is freezing B.C. student loan payments for six months, starting March 30, 2020. Federal student loan payments are being frozen as well.
Deferral programs – such as ICBC and BC Hydro. ICBC is extending deferrals to up to 90 days.
This announcement was directly informed by the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey conducted by our BC chamber network and partners, which ran from March 13-18.
Businesses said they need immediate relief and flexibility on tax remittance, specifically the EHT and PST. Today, the government promised deferred payments on these taxes, and many others, until September 30th, 2020. We also shared with government that property tax relief would be helpful for businesses right now, and they responded by cutting the provincial school tax on property in half for commercial and industrial businesses in Class 4, 5 and 6.
The BC Government also announced further wage replacement programs, as our network requested, including a tax-free, one-time payment of $1,000 to those whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak. This benefit will be aligned with the enhance EI eligibility put forward by the federal government.
While this isn’t yet a panacea to the crisis our members face – today’s announcement will help you work through your business continuity and contingency plans. We know you’re eager to gain more clarity on how to access these initiatives, and the province will provide these details tomorrow.
Premier Horgan said that today’s announcements are “just the beginning,” so it’s imperative you keep using your voice. Sign up for BCMindReader.com to participate in future surveys. We’ll be using this platform to continue to ask what you need, so we can advocate to government on your behalf.
The BC Chamber of Commerce has created a page of resources for businesses affected by COVID-19. We’ll continue to update you as new resources and supports are added.
You’re not in this alone.
Your Chamber Team
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