PST on vehicles

Last updated: March 2018

B.C.'s Provincial Sales Tax (PST) generally applies to a vehicle that is acquired in B.C. or imported into B.C. after March 31, 2013.

Tax on privately acquired vehicles in B.C.

If you purchase a vehicle in a private sale or receive it as a gift in certain circumstances (i.e., from an individual), the PST rate is 12%. If you paid 5% GST at the time you purchased or imported the vehicle, but no other tax, you will have to pay 7% PST plus luxury surtax (if applicable).

Luxury surtax applies to passenger vehicles when the value for tax exceeds:

  • $55,000 to $55,999.99         7% PST plus 1% Luxury tax
  • $56,000 to $56,999.99         7% PST plus 2% Luxury tax
  • $57,000 to $124,999.99       7% PST plus 3% Luxury tax
  • $125,000 to $149,999.99     7% PST plus 8% Luxury tax (effective April 1, 2018)
  • $150,000 and over               7% PST plus 13% Luxury Tax (effective April 1, 2018)

For tax purposes, a passenger vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle designed primarily as a means of transport for individuals. For example, trucks and vans larger than three-quarter ton, camperized vans, motor homes, buses and motorcycles with engines of 250 cc or less are not passenger vehicles.

PST is generally payable at the time the vehicle is registered with your Autoplan Broker. However, if you delay registering the vehicle, you may be required to pay PST directly to the B.C. Ministry of Finance.

Vehicles brought into B.C. from Canada or U.S.

You'll have to pay PST, if you import a vehicle from another part of Canada or the U.S. unless a specific exemption applies. PST is calculated on the depreciated value of the vehicle.

If you purchased the vehicle from a GST registrant in Canada, you are required to pay PST at a rate of 7% plus luxury surtax if applicable. Note: The value of a trade-in does not reduce the value on which tax is payable unless the traded-in vehicle was registered in B.C.

When a vehicle is imported into B.C. from the U.S., the Canadian Border Services Agency will collect 5% GST at the border. You are required to pay PST at a rate of 7% plus luxury surtax if applicable on the value for duty, plus duty and excise tax when you register the vehicle. Note: The value of a trade-in and the federal personal allowance claimed at the border do not reduce the value on which tax is payable.

If you purchased the vehicle in a private sale, within Canada or the U.S., or received it as a gift in certain circumstances (i.e., from an individual), you are required to pay PST at 12%.

Exemptions for vehicles received as gift

Gifts between qualified related individuals are tax-exempt, when all other criteria are met.

Qualified related individuals are limited to:

  • a person's spouse, child, grandchild, great grandchild, parent, grandparent, great grandparent or sibling,
  • the spouse of a person's child, grandchild or great grandchild, or
  • the child, parent, grandparent or great grandparent of a person's spouse.

A qualified related individual also includes 'step' relationships.

You are exempt from PST if the person who gave you the vehicle:

  • meets the criteria of a qualified related individual, and
  • paid any one of the following taxes on the purchase of the vehicle:
    • PST (under the Provincial Sales Tax Act),
    • Tax on Designated Property (under the Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act),
    • a provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST),
    • PST (under the Social Service Tax Act), or
    • sales tax of another province, or
  • was exempt from PST (under the Provincial Sales Tax Act), Tax on Designated Property (under the Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act) or PST (under the Social Service Tax Act) that would have otherwise been payable.

Note: Loan takeovers are not considered gifts. PST is payable on the outstanding amount.

If you give your vehicle to a friend, your friend will have to pay PST on the fair market value of the vehicle

To claim the exemption, both you and the person who gave you the vehicle must complete and sign the B.C. Ministry of Finance Gift of a Vehicle form (FIN319) prior to registering or licensing the vehicle with ICB.C.. Retain the completed form as it is subject to audit once the exemption has been provided.

The Ministry of Finance regularly follows up on these types of transactions to confirm that the criteria for the exemption are met.

If you are unable to provide the documentation at the time of registration, you are required to pay tax on the fair market value of the vehicle. If you later have the required documentation you may apply to the Ministry of Finance for a refund of the PST you paid.

If you received a vehicle as a gift and you are not a qualified related individual or the qualifying tax has not been paid, then the applicable tax must be paid on the fair market value of the vehicle.

Other exemptions

There are a number of other exemptions from PST that you may qualify for, including, but not limited to:

  • settler's effects;
  • vehicles that are received as part of the distribution of a deceased's estate;
  • vehicles that are won as part of a lottery or prize.

Speak to your Autoplan broker for further information on exemptions and the documentation required to substantiate the exemption.

Refunds

ICBC acts on behalf of the Ministry of Finance by collecting tax through its network of Autoplan Brokers. Neither ICB.C. nor its Autoplan Brokers can refund tax.

To apply for a refund, send an application request for a refund to the Ministry of Finance at:

Refund Section
PO Box 9628 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria B.C. V8W 9N6

Note: The Ministry of Finance may only pay a refund in situations authorized under the Provincial Sales Tax Act and its regulations.

More information

Generally documentation on vehicle transactions must be retained for a minimum of five years as the transaction and supporting documents are subject to audit by the Consumer Taxation Branch.

If you have any questions, please consult with your Autoplan Broker or contact the Ministry of Finance, toll free at 1-877-388-4440 or e-mail your questions to CTBTaxQuestions@gov.bc.ca

This information has been prepared for your convenience and is not intended to be a replacement for the legislation. For additional information, please see the Ministry of Finance bulletin PST on Vehicles.

Last updated: March 2018