April 1 Restaurants in BC Move from HST to PST, Are You Ready? [RE-POST]

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May 17, 2019

At the beginning of 2013, there was a shift in tax laws affecting the restaurants and hospitality industry in British Columbia, Canada. For our customers there, this had implications as to how they ran their business. We posted this article with instructions on how to adjust their systems and practices so they could make the transition smoothly. 

This is the advice we gave them. After you read the original post, we’ve added some new thoughts about how important it is to invest in a system that easily scales with changing rules and times. 


On April 1, 2013, B.C. will replace the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) with the combination of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST). There are 3 things restaurants can do to prepare for the switch.

1. Update Tax Charge on POS System

Restaurants will be required to charge 5% GST and 0% PST on food sales as opposed to the 12% HST. All alcoholic sales must be charged at 5% GST and 10% PST instead of 12% HST. POS systems should be updated with the correct tax information. This arrangement of GST and PST on food and alcohol sales is a return to the pre-HST change. For restaurants that have existed before July 1, 2010, this taxation will be familiar to their business. 

Customers can update the tax information through Enterprise Manager. Select HALO Editors Groups and then “add/change taxes” to reassign the proper tax to each family group. All Canadian clients have the PST, GST and liquor tax in their databases already.

If you prefer, our support team can make the adjustment for your restaurant in Enterprise Manager for $99. We will create the taxes at the new rate, set-up the tax classes and associate the tax classes to your existing family group structure. You will then have to test the system to make sure the taxes are being accurately charged and remitted.

2. Register One or Separate PST Accounts

Restaurants that sell alcohol will need to register to collect PST.  Restaurant owners with multiple locations must decide if they want to register all locations under one PST account or under separate PST accounts. If you register all your locations under one account, this means you will have one PST registration number that covers all your locations and you will file one PST return each reporting period. If you register separate locations, you will have multiple PST registration numbers and must file multiple PST returns each reporting period.

3. Register Online, In Person or Mail / Fax to collect PST:

a) Online

Restaurants can register at eTaxBC. Registration takes about 10 – 20 minutes.

b) In Person:

Find the BC Services center nearest you to register in person by clicking to view this map of locations. Bring your completed registration application form and supplementary form (if needed) with all required supporting documents.

c) Mail or Fax:

Fill out the Application for Registration for Provincial Sales Tax (PST) (FIN 418). Use the supplementary form Application for Registration for Provincial Sales Tax (PST) Supplementary (FIN 418S) (PDF) if you need more space.


That’s the way it was in for our customers in British Columbia, Canada at the beginning of 2013. 

We felt it was important to help our customers with what was a confusing process for some. In large part, this was the reason we published this post back then. It turned out to be very widely read, so we were glad to provide a helpful resource.  

Years later, there’s a core principle that remains to be relevant at the heart of this post; that a POS and enterprise management system need to be nimble when it comes to adherence to mandatory national or state/provincial laws, or any other eventuality that affects how businesses operate. Our system was easy to update then and remains to be today. In most cases, these changes were made by our customers themselves in the Enterprise Manager dashboard.  

Point of Sale Designed for Users  

That level of empowerment is a priority when it comes to developing our cloud-based solutions. These tools are designed for users to make these kinds of changes easily without needing any complicated manual updates or reconfigurations. This allows our customers to focus their energy on continuing to build their brands and make the experiences of their guests better, while also making it easier to manage important company data for multiple locations all in one interface.

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