The B.C. Liberal opposition on Wednesday re-introduced legislation to reduce taxes to make buying a used car more affordable.
The Provincial Sales Tax (Used Passenger Vehicles) Amendment Act, 2023, would eliminate the provincial sale tax on used vehicles purchases less than $20,000, provided the vehicle has been driven at least 6,000 kilometres.
Starting Oct. 1, the government began collecting 12 per cent PST on used vehicle sold privately using a formula that bases the tax on the Canadian Black Book value rather than the actual sales price.
“Last spring, in the middle of an affordability crisis, the NDP announced they would be increasing the tax on used vehicles, taxing people on what the NDP deems the vehicle’s value to be, rather than the sale price,” said BC Liberal Finance Shadow Minister Peter Milobar.
“Now, the NDP are effectively punishing people for finding a good deal at a time when millions of British Columbians are struggling to make ends meet. Instead of continuing to make life less affordable, Premier Eby and his government should be looking for ways to provide people with relief.”
Milobar said the proposed amendment would provide up to $2,400 of tax relief on used vehicle purchases and would especially benefit people who can’t afford to buy an electric vehicle and are struggling to pay living costs.
He pointed to the MNP Consumer Debt Index, which shows 44 per cent of British Columbians are less than $200 away from insolvency at the end of each month.
“With everything from gas to groceries to housing getting more expensive, people are looking to their government to make things easier, not harder,” said Milobar. “However, NDP MLAs voted against our suggested PST exemption for used vehicles last spring, and the NDP refused to call this bill for debate the last time it was introduced (in a private member’s bill on Oct. 31).
“If the NDP is serious about making life more affordable, they will finally support this bill and help provide relief to B.C. families.”
In November, 100 Mile House resident Graham Hugill, told the Citizen about the tax bill he faced after purchasing a used truck.
He paid $35,000 in a private sale and when he went to an insurance agency to register the truck he was shocked to learn the PST bill required him to pay an additional $5,669.80. In Hugill’s case, the book value of the truck was $47,240, which was $12,240 more than what he paid for it.
He launched an online petition to protest the new government policy, which has since gathered 16,000 signatures.