HST from Coast to Coast

On the west coast, HST is out in BC – but on the east coast in PEI, the HST is in.  It depends who you are and what business you are in as to which option you prefer. The CRA provides information on both shifts in provincial taxes at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/harmonization, just pick your province and start reading.

But here’s an example of how it gets convoluted, quickly.  Recently a large organization contacted us after we had reviewed them.  They asked for advice on what to do following the transition in BC from HST back to PST/GST, in regards to a specific exemption.  They asked for just the legislation at first.  Gary Pelzer, an LWA consultant with excellent expertise in this field, provided the section reference and link to the relevant legislation to the client, which anyone can access (if they know that they should and if they can find it).

The client followed up requesting clarification on the criteria and procedure – essentially asking “Is there somewhere in simple English that properly explains this?”

The consultant replied, “Welcome to my world. Simple answer is No – there is no simple English to explain it all…Here is my understanding of how all of this works.”

Gary explained the ins and outs of the various options – something along the lines of “if this and this, then that, unless this also can be argued, in which case that or possibly that.”  Additional references were given and the offer of ongoing support.

Was it clear at this point to the client? It could be said that it is impossible to have clarity at the outset in these matters – because interpretation is key. The consultants at LWA are experts in the interpretation in tax law.  The confusing and convoluted nature of tax legislation is why we are needed – to help organizations keep as much of their own money from the clutches of the government as possible.