EDITORIAL – Having to pay PST on used vehicles is discriminatory and unfair


An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

USED CAR DEALERS must be shaking their heads these days as they try to figure out the provincial government’s new rules on how to charge PST on second-hand vehicles.

But, pity the hapless purchaser who has to pay it.

Under the new regulations, PST on a used vehicle must be paid on its estimated value according to the Canadian Black Book, one of the auto Bibles commonly used in determining prices. Previously, it was paid based on the actual selling price.

The change is an attempt to prevent private sales deals from under-stating the value of the vehicle in order to pay less tax. You know how that works: you sell me a car for a thousand dollars but we declare the amount paid as a dollar. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

So, OK, the Province has a point on that but the big question is, why should tax be paid on a used vehicle at all? When a vehicle is purchased brand new, we pay tax on it. Each and every time it’s sold after that, tax is paid again.

That’s double, triple or quadruple dipping by the government and it’s not fair. Any government that has just chocked up a $5-billion surplus doesn’t have to resort to such money grabs.

Supposedly, the PST on used vehicles is a transaction fee collected by government for some sort of service it provides the buyer. If anyone can tell me what service the government is giving us I’d like to know.

Charging PST on old cars is also discriminatory. If you can afford $60,000 for a new car, you can probably afford the tax. If you can’t afford to pay new-car prices, and have to make do with something that was pre-owned, paying tax on top of the purchase price is going to hurt a lot more.

We pay enough taxes as it is. This is one we shouldn’t have to pay.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9652 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on EDITORIAL – Having to pay PST on used vehicles is discriminatory and unfair

  1. And what is worse, is that now, there is no such thing as a family transfer. You pay the tax on the vehicle that you give to your wife, or child when it transfers. So now, you have had to pay tax twice on a vehicle that you purchased originally.

  2. Paulette Borowsky // November 29, 2022 at 9:28 AM // Reply

    I agree completely Mr. Rothenberger. These comments have been a long time in coming. As a senior on government pension only, it is just another hurdle to jump. Hopefully, the government will pay attention to such concerns and do what’s right. Thank you.

  3. You kidding right?
    Who pays for the damage created by the unbound forces of nature?
    Who pays for the union wages?
    And the teachers? And the doctors?
    Who builds hospitals and schools? Who pays for roads often built in difficult areas? Who pays for winter snow plowing throughout the province. Who pays for the shelters and the subsidies? Who pays for the grants which can afford the City of Kamloops (almost) unbound largess? And the list goes on. Hate taxes? In many cases a pinch of frugality would balance the budget.

  4. We didn’t pay PST until the HST came along and then that was that.

    • Greg is right. When the BC Liberals brought in the HST, used cars sold by a dealer became subject to the 12 per cent HST, whereas previously such sales were subject to the 7 per cent GST. Private sales remained untaxed.

      When the Liberals retreated from the HST, they claimed that exempting private vehicle sales from the PST was unfair to car dealers. I don’t know if the car dealers actually lobbied the BC government to bring in the PST on private sales. It wouldn’t surprise me.

      In any case, I agree with Mel. There should be no sales tax of any sort on the sale and purchase of used goods between private parties.

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