Some wheel deals can be had with return of PST
With the harmonized sales tax disappearing on April 1, some bicycle store owners believe that reverting back to the PST and GST could increase business.
Bicycles and their related equipment — as well as some other items including children’s clothes and footwear and books — are PST-free, which means there are potential savings to be had for consumers.
Still, Dan McRorie of Different Bikes says few people know about the PST exemption for bicycles. “I think bikes kind of fly under the radar,” he said. “They just assume they’re paying both [taxes].”
He added: “I don’t think the HST encouraged people to get out and ride. [The HST] is definitely a concern. It’s an extra seven per cent — on a $5,000 bike it adds up pretty quick.”
B.C.’s HST was implemented in 2010 and then voted down after a referendum in 2011.
Mike Theil, owner of Bicycle Sports Pacific thinks that people who want to ride, will ride, no matter which taxes are in place.
“The health, economic and transportation benefits of cycling... outweigh the tax treatment applied,” he said in an email.
“Increasing the tax has done nothing to slow sales which leads me to assume that decreasing it will do nothing to increase them,” said Theil.
Steve Savage, general manager of Steed Cycles bike store believes that while a difference may not be noticeable on paper, some consumers will wait for the revert back to PST before they buy. “I think we’ll probably be a bit slower for March and pick up more in April,” he said.
Savage says that the switches have been more of a hassle than anything. “In the end bikes will be cheaper... but I don’t think it’s [cheap] enough to make a difference.”
—Starting April 1, some other items formerly exempt from PST will be exempt once again, including children’s clothing and footwear, books and magazines, insulation, smoke alarms, work-related safety equipment, general safety equipment like child car seats and portable fire extinguishers. Services like home renovations will also be exempt from the PST.
— Ley Doctor is a Langara Journalism student