Victoria man's fight with ICBC becomes larger conversation about PST
VANCOUVER -- Lee Grant is taking on ICBC and the province after he says he was gouged in an unfair tax grab by the provincial government.
“Why am I paying PST on something that was bought in another province, between citizens of that other province?” questioned Grant, the owner of LG Speed and Kustom.
On Wednesday, Grant says, he was charged provincial sales tax on a vehicle that he has owned for nearly a decade, which he purchased in 2013 when he was a resident of Alberta.
On Thursday, his situation sparking a larger conversation about the tax.
“It defies common sense that anybody should have to pay PST on used anything,” said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Tax Payers Federation.
B.C.’s 7 per cent PST applies to most used items. Sims calls it a punishing tax for lower income families.
“BC is really expensive,” said Sims. “Most people I know, especially families with kids, do shop used in order to try to save money.”
The PST adds costs to the final bill, and those costs can be substantial for larger purchases, such as used vehicles.
“Generally, people are trading cars every three to four years,” said Julian Sale, owner of Motorize Electric Vehicles in View Royal.
Sale has been in the used car business for more than 15 years and has seen how many times the province can collect sales tax on the same vehicle throughout its life.
“Which is great for the PST collectors, but it’s really not good for anyone who is buying these vehicles,” says Sale. “There’s a high demand for used goods, which means taxation is up right now during a time when our economy is a little down.”
CTV News had an interview scheduled on Thursday with Finance Minister Selina Robinson to question her about why the province applies PST to used items and about Lee Grant’s situation. At the last minute, CTV News was told she was no longer available for that interview.
In the meantime, Sims isn’t holding back when it comes to the PST being applied to used goods. She calls it unfair, but says we’re stuck with it.
“The (provincial government is) latched onto it like a leach and that is why they have PST on things like used vehicles,” said Sims. “You can’t get around it because you eventually you have to register through ICBC, which is a monopoly.”