VICTORIA -- The owner of a Vic West hot rod shop is taking on ICBC and the province for what he claims is a cash grab.

In 2013, Lee Grant, the owner of LG Speed and Kustom, was a resident of Alberta. That year, he bought a 1960 Thunderbird in a private sale from a man in that same province.

“It was my personal vehicle,” said Grant.

In 2017 he came to Victoria for a job and in 2018 he decided to move here permanently.

“That’s when I transferred my drivers licence over and began the process of transferring the registration for my Thunderbird,” said Grant. “Being that it’s a 60-year-old car, there was a fair bit of stuff that I had to fix on it.”

That took some time and when he went to go and register the car with ICBC, he says they charged him $840 through the Provincial Sales Tax (PST).

He paid the tax but then appealed it and then claims he was told by ICBC that he had missed his registration transfer deadline.

“You have one year to transfer it since you became a B.C. resident and you are 19 days over the limit,” Grant says ICBC told him. “So we’re not going to give you the tax back.”

ICBC told CTV News in a statement Wednesday that the Ministry of Finance was responsible for assessing the tax requirements.

“The Consumer Taxation Branch with the Ministry of Finance is responsible for setting the tax requirements and directs ICBC to collect tax during the registration of a vehicle, unless it qualifies for an exemption,” said ICBC.

“Unfortunately, we have heard about this before, quite frequently,” said Kris Sims, BC director of the Canadian Tax Payers Federation. “This is the reason why B.C. stands for 'bring cash.'”

Sims says this whole situation is completely unfair.

“If he was living in Alberta legally as an Albertan, purchased the vehicle in Alberta and then years later brought it into British Columbia and they’re trying to hit him with PST now, he should contact his MLA,” said Sims.

Grant has not reached out to his MLA but instead has gone straight to the Ministry of Finance.

CTV News was told the file had made its way into the top levels of the finance ministry. However we received no response from the province by Wednesday afternoon.

“I have 90 days to appeal it once again, so that’s where it’s at right now,” said Grant.

When asked if he plans to appeal once again, the hot rod shop owner gave a direct answer.

“Oh yeah, you always have to fight back,” he said.

Grant has since sold the car, but he says his case shows serious flaws in how the PST is applied in B.C.

“I’ve got underwear that I bought there too,” said Grant. “Like what, are they going to tax everything that I bought in a different province?” 


A previous version of this story said Lee Grant's vehicle was a 1964 Thunderbird. In fact, it was a 1960 model of the vehicle.