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This Act is current to February 20, 2024
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Insurance Premium Tax Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 232

Contents
1Definitions and interpretation
2Registration of taxable insurer
3Tax for taxable insurer
4Tax for taxpayer other than taxable insurer
5Exemptions — taxable insurers
5.1Exemptions — licensees under Real Estate Services Act
5.2Exemption — indemnity fee under Legal Profession Act
6Return of income
7Instalment payments and interest
7.1Waiver or cancellation of interest
8Return by trustee, etc.
9Verifying return
10Extension of time
11Payment with return
12Records required to be kept
12.1Inspection and audit powers
12.2Requirement to provide records
12.3Demand for information
13Assessment on independent investigation
14Assessment on examination of return
14.1Notice of assessment
15Refund of overpayment
15.1Excess refund
16Assessments — general rules
17Appeal to minister
17.1Notice of appeal
18Appeal to court
18.1Irregularity in procedure
19Due date of tax not affected by appeal
20Duty to obtain certificate before distribution
21Amount owing forms lien
22Notice of proceedings
23Recovery by action
24Filing of certificate
25Attachment
26Distress
27Exercise of recovery powers
27.1Limitation period
27.2Waiver or cancellation of penalty
28Penalty for failure to register with or notify commissioner
29Penalty for failure to deliver return
29.1Penalty for repeated failure to deliver return
29.2Penalty for failure to provide required information
30Penalties respecting information and records
30.1Penalty for interfering with investigation, inspection or audit
30.2Gross negligence
30.3Misrepresentation by third party
31-32Repealed
32.1Section 5 of Offence Act
32.2General offences
32.3Penalties
32.4Offences for failure to provide records or information required by commissioner or for interference
32.5Offences in relation to taxpayer information
33Offence by corporation
34Method of providing notices and demands
35Laying of information and hearings
36Limitation
37Repealed
37.1Electronic payment
37.2When payment is received
38Information sharing
38.1Information-sharing agreements
39Staff
40Delegation
41Power to make regulations

Definitions and interpretation

1   (1) In this Act:

"amount owing" means

(a) tax owing to the government, or

(b) an amount owing to the government under section 15.1;

"annuity contract" means a contract that provides for payment of an income for a specified period or for life and under which the only benefit stated to be payable by reason of death does not exceed the sum of the amounts paid as consideration for the contract together with interest;

"assessment" includes reassessment;

"BC premium" means the premium payable under a contract of insurance in respect of a person resident or property situated in British Columbia at the time the premium becomes payable;

"commissioner" means the Commissioner of Income Tax, or another person designated by the minister;

"insurance agent" has the same meaning as in Division 2 of Part 6 of the Financial Institutions Act;

"insurance business" has the same meaning as in the Financial Institutions Act;

"insurance salesperson" has the same meaning as in Division 2 of Part 6 of the Financial Institutions Act;

"insurer" means an individual, corporation or other entity carrying on insurance business;

"net taxable premiums" of an insurer for a taxation year means the amount, if any, by which the insurer's total taxable premiums for the taxation year exceeds the total of

(a) taxable premiums returned to policy holders by the insurer in the taxation year, and

(b) the cash value of dividends paid or credited in the taxation year by the insurer to policy holders under contracts of insurance in respect of persons resident or property situated in British Columbia;

"permanent establishment" has the same meaning as in section 400 (2) of the Income Tax Regulations (Canada) except that, in respect of a partnership,

(a) a reference in that section to "corporation" must be read as a reference to "partnership", and

(b) the section must be read without reference to paragraphs (c) and (g);

"person" includes a syndicate, association, agent or trustee;

"pleasure craft" means a water craft for use for relaxation or sport whether or not it is chartered to another person for that use;

"pleasure craft insurance" includes

(a) property insurance in respect of pleasure craft, and

(b) insurance against liability arising out of

(i) bodily injury to or the death of a person, or

(ii) loss of or damage to property

caused by a pleasure craft or the use or operation of it;

"premium" includes any payment made as consideration for a contract of insurance, or a contract of reciprocal insurance, including

(a) premium deposits,

(b) assessments,

(c) registration fees,

(d) contributions by members, and

(e) any other compensation,

but excluding payments made as consideration for

(f) a contract of marine insurance that is not pleasure craft insurance, or

(g) a contract of reciprocal marine insurance that is not pleasure craft insurance;

"property insurance" means insurance against the loss of or damage to property but does not include aircraft insurance, automobile insurance and hail insurance;

"superintendent" means the Superintendent of Financial Institutions under the Financial Institutions Act;

"tax" includes all penalties and interest that are or may be added to the tax under this Act;

"taxable insurer" means

(a) an insurer that has a business authorization under the Financial Institutions Act to carry on insurance business,

(b) a prescribed insurer, or

(c) a member of a prescribed class of insurers;

"taxable premium" of a taxable insurer for a taxation year means a BC premium that is received or became receivable by the insurer in the taxation year, other than a premium received

(a) as consideration for an annuity contract,

(b) from another taxable insurer under a contract of reinsurance, or

(c) [Repealed 2004-40-21.]

(d) for medical services or health care under a medical services or health care plan approved by regulation;

"taxation year" means a calendar year and, when a taxation year is referred to by reference to a calendar year, the reference is to the taxation year coinciding with that year;

"taxpayer" means

(a) a taxable insurer,

(b) a person resident in British Columbia who enters into an insurance contract with an insurer other than a taxable insurer,

(b.1) a person resident in British Columbia in respect of whom or in respect of whose risk, including, without limitation, risk related to the person's property, employees, directors or officers, a person not resident in British Columbia enters into an insurance contract with an insurer other than a taxable insurer, if

(i) the contract is entered into with the consent of the person resident in British Columbia,

(ii) the person resident in British Columbia contributes to the payment of premiums under the contract, or reimburses the person who entered into the contract for the payment of those premiums, or

(iii) the person resident in British Columbia and the person who enters into the contract are related persons within the meaning of section 251 of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or

(c) a trustee in bankruptcy, assignee, liquidator, receiver, administrator or similar person administering, managing, winding up or otherwise dealing with the property or business of a taxable insurer.

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations establishing and defining classes of insurance for the purposes of this Act.

(3) For the purposes of the definition of "taxpayer", a corporation or partnership is resident in British Columbia if the corporation or partnership has a permanent establishment in British Columbia when the premium is payable under the insurance contract.

Registration of taxable insurer

2   (1) A taxable insurer must register with the commissioner no later than 30 days after the date the taxable insurer begins to carry on insurance business in British Columbia.

(1.1) A person who ceases to be a taxable insurer must notify the commissioner no later than 30 days after the date the person ceases to be a taxable insurer.

(2) The superintendent must notify the commissioner

(a) when a business authorization to carry on insurance business or a permit for a reciprocal exchange is issued or revoked under the Financial Institutions Act, and

(b) when a captive insurance company is registered or a registration is cancelled under the Insurance (Captive Company) Act.

Tax for taxable insurer

3   Every taxable insurer must pay to the government a tax for each taxation year equal to the total of

(a) 2% of the taxable insurer's net taxable premiums for the year received or receivable under contracts of life insurance, accident and sickness insurance and insurance that indemnifies or compensates for loss of salary or wages,

(a.1) 4.4% of the taxable insurer's net taxable premiums for the year received or receivable under contracts of property insurance and automobile insurance, and

(b) 4% of the taxable insurer's net taxable premiums for the year received or receivable under contracts of insurance not referred to in paragraph (a) or (a.1).

Tax for taxpayer other than taxable insurer

4   A taxpayer other than a taxable insurer must pay to the minister a tax equal to 7% of the BC premium paid or payable, or premium note given, or mutual or other liability assumed, under an insurance contract referred to in paragraph (b) or (b.1) of the definition of "taxpayer".

Exemptions — taxable insurers

5   Despite section 3, no tax is payable by

(a) a fraternal benefit society, or

(b) a purely mutual corporation in respect of any year in which at least 50% of the net premium income in British Columbia of the mutual corporation is derived from the insurance of farm property or wholly derived from the insurance of churches, schools or other religious or charitable institutions.

Exemptions — licensees under Real Estate Services Act

5.1   Despite section 4, no tax is payable in respect of the following by a taxpayer who is a licensee under the Real Estate Services Act:

(a) the BC premium paid or payable under an insurance contract with the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation that provides indemnity against liability referred to in section 102 (1) of that Act;

(b) an assessment levied for the Real Estate Special Compensation Fund by the Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation.

Exemption — indemnity fee under Legal Profession Act

5.2   Despite section 4, no tax is payable by a taxpayer who is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia in respect of an indemnity fee set under section 30 (3) (a) of the Legal Profession Act.

Return of income

6   (1) On or before March 31 in each year, without notice or demand, a taxable insurer must deliver a return to the commissioner showing the premiums subject to tax for the preceding calendar year.

(2) A taxpayer, other than a taxable insurer, within 90 days from the date a contract referred to in paragraph (b) or (b.1) of the definition of "taxpayer" was entered into, without notice or demand, must deliver a return to the commissioner.

(3) If the commissioner knows or suspects that a taxable insurer whose income is liable to assessment is about to cease transacting business in British Columbia, the commissioner may by notice require that taxable insurer to immediately deliver a return of income up to that time.

(4) If the commissioner desires any return from a taxpayer for the purposes of this Act, or a further return, the commissioner may demand the return desired, and the taxpayer must furnish or deliver it to the commissioner within the time specified in the demand.

(5) A return must be in the form and contain the information required by the commissioner.

(6) A person required to deliver a return must

(a) file the return electronically in the manner required by the commissioner, and

(b) file, with the return, any other information or records required by the commissioner.

Instalment payments and interest

7   (1) If a taxpayer's tax payable for the preceding calendar year exceeds the amount prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the taxpayer must pay to the government, on account of the taxpayer's tax payable under this Act for the current calendar year, on or before June 15, September 15 and December 15 in the current calendar year, an amount at least equal to 25% of the lesser of

(a) the taxpayer's tax payable for the preceding calendar year, and

(b) the taxpayer's estimated tax payable for the current calendar year.

(2) If a taxpayer fails to make a payment under subsection (1) on or before the date required by that subsection, the taxpayer must pay to the government interest on the amount equal to 25% of the lesser of

(a) the taxpayer's tax payable for the preceding calendar year, and

(b) the taxpayer's tax payable for the current calendar year.

(3) A taxpayer must pay interest under subsection (4) if the taxpayer makes a payment under subsection (1) on or before the date required by that subsection that is less than the amount that is equal to 25% of the lesser of

(a) the taxpayer's tax payable for the preceding calendar year, and

(b) the taxpayer's tax payable for the current calendar year.

(4) A taxpayer who must pay interest under this subsection must pay to the government interest on the amount by which the amount referred to in subsection (3) exceeds the payment referred to in that subsection.

(5) Interest payable under subsection (2) or (4)

(a) must be calculated at the rate and in the manner prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and

(b) is payable from the date on which the taxpayer was required to make the payment under subsection (1) until the earlier of

(i) the date of payment, and

(ii) the date a return is required to be filed under section 6 (1).

Waiver or cancellation of interest

7.1   The commissioner may at any time waive or cancel all or part of any interest otherwise payable under this Act by a taxpayer.

Return by trustee, etc.

8   A trustee in bankruptcy, assignee, liquidator, receiver, administrator and other person administering, managing, winding up, controlling or otherwise dealing with the property or business of a taxpayer who has failed to deliver a return must deliver the required return.

Verifying return

9   On receipt of a demand from the commissioner, the person making a return must, within the time specified in the demand, verify the correctness of the return by that person's signed statement, or the signed statement of the person by whom the return is made.

Extension of time

10   The commissioner may extend the time for making a return.

Payment with return

11   (1) A taxpayer must, at the time of making a return, remit to the commissioner the tax payable as determined in the return.

(2) If a taxable insurer refuses or neglects to pay the tax as required by this Act, the taxable insurer is liable to pay interest on the amount unpaid calculated at the rate and in the manner prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council from March 31 in the year in which the tax is payable until the day of payment.

(3) If a taxpayer, other than a taxable insurer, refuses or neglects to pay the tax as required by this Act, the taxpayer is liable to pay interest on the amount unpaid calculated at the rate and in the manner prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council from 90 days after the date a contract referred to in paragraph (b) or (b.1) of the definition of "taxpayer" was entered into until the day of payment.

Records required to be kept

12   (1) A taxpayer and an insurance agent must keep adequate books of account and records for the purposes of this Act.

(2) If the books or records kept by a taxpayer or an insurance agent are, in the opinion of the commissioner, inadequate for these purposes, the commissioner may specify the form of and the information to be contained in the books and records to be kept by that taxpayer or insurance agent.

(3) [Repealed 2005-16-23.]

Inspection and audit powers

12.1   (1) In this section:

"authorized person" means the commissioner or a person authorized by the commissioner;

"private dwelling" means

(a) a structure that is occupied as a private residence, or

(b) if only part of a structure is occupied as a private residence, that part of the structure.

(2) For any purpose related to the administration or enforcement of this Act and the regulations, an authorized person may

(a) enter any business premises during normal business hours,

(b) inspect, audit or examine any record on the premises, and

(c) remove any record from the premises for the purpose of making copies.

(3) If any business premises referred to in subsection (2) (a) is a private dwelling, an authorized person may not enter the dwelling except with the consent of the occupant or under the authority of a warrant under subsection (4).

(4) If satisfied by evidence given under oath that entry into a private dwelling is necessary for any purpose related to the administration or enforcement of this Act, a justice may issue a warrant, subject to any conditions the justice considers appropriate, authorizing an authorized person to enter the dwelling.

(5) The commissioner may make an application for a warrant under subsection (4) without notice to any other person.

(6) A person must not

(a) interfere with, hinder or molest a person doing anything that the person is authorized to do under this section, or

(b) prevent or attempt to prevent a person from doing anything that the person is authorized to do under this section.

Requirement to provide records

12.2   When required by the commissioner, a person must provide to the commissioner all records that the commissioner considers necessary to determine whether this Act and the regulations are being or have been complied with.

Demand for information

12.3   (1) For any purpose related to the administration or enforcement of this Act or the regulations, the commissioner may, by giving a person a demand notice, require from the person

(a) any information or additional information,

(b) the production of any records, or

(c) a written statement.

(2) A demand notice under subsection (1)

(a) must be given by

(i) leaving the demand notice with the person, or

(ii) mailing the demand notice to the person by registered mail addressed to the person's address as stated in the person's last return made under this Act or as last known to the commissioner,

(b) must specify a reasonable time by which the person must comply with the demand notice, and

(c) in relation to a requirement under subsection (1) (c), may require the written statement to be made by way of affidavit or statutory declaration.

(3) A person to whom a demand notice is given under this section must comply with the notice within the time specified in the notice.

(4) The commissioner may issue a document certifying one or both of the following, and the document is proof of the facts certified in it:

(a) a demand notice was given to a person in accordance with subsection (2);

(b) a person has failed to comply with subsection (3) in respect of a demand notice given to the person under this section.

Assessment on independent investigation

13   (1) If a taxpayer fails to deliver a return under this Act or delivers an insufficient, incorrect or false return, the commissioner

(a) if the taxpayer is a taxable insurer, may make an independent investigation of the taxpayer's income and make the commissioner's own valuation of it, or

(b) if the taxpayer is not a taxable insurer, may investigate all insurance contracts and policies effected by the taxpayer or on behalf of the taxpayer by any insurance agent or insurance salesperson.

(2) Following an investigation under subsection (1), the commissioner may make an assessment of tax and give notice of the assessment to the taxpayer.

(3) On the giving of the notice, the tax is due and payable immediately.

Assessment on examination of return

14   (1) The commissioner must examine a return as soon as practicable after receiving it.

(2) If the commissioner alters the amount of tax as reported, the commissioner must do so by assessment and must give notice of the assessment to the taxpayer.

(3) Additional tax found due over the estimated amount, as shown by the notice of assessment, together with interest as specified in section 11, must be paid by the taxpayer to the commissioner not later than 30 days after the date of the notice of assessment.

Notice of assessment

14.1   (1) If a notice of assessment is sent by ordinary mail, registered mail or electronic mail, the notice, for the purposes of this Act, is deemed to have been given on the date of that notice.

(2) The date of a notice of assessment is the date stated on the notice.

Refund of overpayment

15   (1) If it appears from an inspection, audit, examination or investigation or from other information available to the commissioner that an overpayment has been made by a taxpayer, the minister, on the certificate of the commissioner as to facts, must refund the amount overpaid to the taxpayer from the consolidated revenue fund.

(2) Despite subsection (1), if there is an amount owing by the taxpayer, the amount overpaid must first be applied in satisfaction of the amount owing, and notice must be given to the taxpayer, accompanied by the refund of the amount overpaid and remaining unapplied.

(3) A refund under this section may be made with the notice of assessment or after giving the notice of assessment.

Excess refund

15.1   (1) If it appears from an inspection, audit, examination or investigation or from other information available to the commissioner that an amount has been refunded to a taxpayer in excess of the amount to which the taxpayer was entitled as a refund under this Act,

(a) the excess is deemed to be an amount that became payable by the taxpayer on the date on which the amount was refunded, and

(b) the taxpayer is liable to pay interest on the excess calculated at the rate and in the manner prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council from the date the excess became payable to the date of payment.

(2) If an amount applied under section 15 (2) to an amount owing by a taxpayer is in excess of the amount to which the taxpayer is entitled as a refund under this Act, this section applies in respect of the amount applied as if that amount had been refunded to the taxpayer on the date the amount was applied to the amount owing.

Assessments — general rules

16   (1) Despite a prior assessment, or if no assessment has been made, a taxpayer continues to be liable for an amount owing under this Act.

(2) The commissioner may assess a taxpayer for tax as follows:

(a) at any time, if

(i) the taxpayer has not delivered a return required under this Act,

(ii) any person has made any misrepresentation or committed any fraud in making the taxpayer's return or supplying information under this Act in respect of the period or transaction for which the assessment is made,

(iii) the taxpayer is a taxable insurer who has filed a waiver under subsection (3) in respect of the period for which the assessment is made, or

(iv) the taxpayer has filed a waiver under subsection (4) in respect of the contract of insurance for which the assessment is made;

(b) in any other case, within 6 years after the date of delivery of a return required under this Act.

(2.1) The commissioner may assess a taxpayer at any time for any amount payable by the taxpayer under section 15.1.

(3) A taxpayer who is a taxable insurer may file with the commissioner a waiver for a taxation year, in the form and containing the information required by the commissioner, within 6 years after the date of delivery of a return for the taxation year.

(4) A taxpayer who is not a taxable insurer may file with the commissioner a waiver in respect of a contract of insurance, in the form and containing the information required by the commissioner, within 6 years after the date of delivery of a return in respect of the contract of insurance.

(5) A waiver under subsection (3) or (4) continues in effect until 6 months after the taxpayer files with the commissioner a notice revoking the waiver, in the form and containing the information required by the commissioner.

(6) Subject to being amended, changed or varied on appeal or by reassessment, an assessment or penalty made or imposed under this Act is valid and binding despite any error, defect or omission in the assessment or penalty or in procedure.

Appeal to minister

17   (1) Subject to subsection (4), a person who objects to their assessment or who considers that they are not liable for payment of tax under this Act in the amount set out in their return may give a written notice of appeal to the minister

(a) within 90 days after the assessment has been mailed, or

(b) if there has been no assessment, within 90 days after the taxpayer filed the original return.

(2) The notice of appeal must state the name and address of the taxpayer, the amount of the tax and the date of the notice of assessment, if any, and must set out clearly and fully the reasons for the appeal and the facts on which it is based.

(3) On receipt of the notice of appeal, the minister must consider the notice and the information and documents on file in the office of the commissioner, decide the matter and notify the appellant of the minister's decision.

(4) An appeal may not be made under this section in relation to an assessment made under section 16 (2.1).

(5) The minister may, in writing, delegate any of the minister's powers or duties under this section.

(6) A delegation under subsection (5) may be to a named person or to a class of persons.

Notice of appeal

17.1   (1) The date on which a notice of appeal is given to the minister under section 17 (1) is the date it is received by the minister.

(2) A notice of appeal is conclusively deemed to have been given to the minister if it is received at a location and by a method specified by the minister.

Appeal to court

18   (1) A decision of the minister under section 17 (3) may be appealed to the Supreme Court by way of a petition proceeding.

(2) The Supreme Court Civil Rules relating to petition proceedings apply to appeals under this section, but Rule 18-3 of those rules does not apply.

(3) A petition must be filed in the court registry within 90 days after the date of the minister's notification of decision.

(4) Within 14 days after the filing of the petition under subsection (3), it must be served on the government in accordance with section 8 of the Crown Proceeding Act and the government must be designated "Her Majesty the Queen in right of the Province of British Columbia".

(4.1) An appeal under this section is a new hearing that is not limited to the evidence and issues that were before the minister.

(5) The court may dismiss the appeal, allow the appeal, vary the decision from which the appeal is made or refer the decision back to the commissioner for reconsideration.

(6) [Repealed 2021-18-42.]

Irregularity in procedure

18.1   An assessment must not be varied or disallowed by a court because of an irregularity, informality, omission or error on the part of any person in the observation of any directory provision up to the date of the issuing of the notice of assessment.

Due date of tax not affected by appeal

19   (1) Neither the giving of a notice of appeal by a taxpayer nor a delay in the hearing of the appeal affects the due date, the interest or penalties or the liability for payment provided by this Act in respect of the tax that is the subject matter of the appeal, or delays collection of the tax.

(2) Despite subsection (1), if the tax is set aside or reduced on appeal, the minister must refund to the taxpayer the tax or excess tax paid by the taxpayer, and any additional interest or penalty imposed and paid on that tax or excess.

Duty to obtain certificate before distribution

20   Assets of a taxable insurer or of the estate of a taxable insurer must not be distributed by a trustee in bankruptcy, assignee, liquidator, receiver, administrator or similar person, until a certificate has been obtained from the commissioner certifying that no amount owing under this Act that is chargeable against the person, property or business remains outstanding.

Amount owing forms lien

21   (1) An amount owing under this Act by a taxpayer forms a lien and charge in favour of the government on the entire assets of the taxpayer or of the estate of the taxpayer in the hands of any trustee, effective December 31 of the year in respect of which the amount is owing, and has priority over all other claims of every person, except claims secured by liens, charges or encumbrances registered before that date.

(2) The liens and charges created by this section and their priority are not lost or impaired

(a) by any neglect, omission or error of the commissioner, or an agent or officer,

(b) by taking or failing to take proceedings to recover the amount owing,

(c) by tender or acceptance of a partial payment of the amount owing, or

(d) by want of registration.

Notice of proceedings

22   (1) Before taking proceedings for the recovery of an amount owing under this Act, the commissioner must notify the taxpayer of the commissioner's intention to enforce payment.

(2) Despite subsection (1), failure to give notice does not affect the validity of proceedings taken for the recovery of the amount owing.

Recovery by action

23   An amount owing under this Act may be recovered by action in any court as for a debt due to the government, and the court may make an order as to the costs of the action for or against the government.

Filing of certificate

24   (1) If a person fails to pay an amount owing under this Act, the commissioner may issue a certificate specifying the amount owed and the name of the person who owes it.

(2) The commissioner may file the certificate with a district registrar of the Supreme Court.

(3) When filed, the certificate has the same force and effect, and all proceedings may be taken on it, as if it were a judgment of the court for the recovery of a debt of the amount stated in the certificate against the person named in it.

Attachment

25   (1) If the commissioner has knowledge or suspects that a person is or is about to become indebted or liable to make a payment to a taxpayer, the commissioner may demand that that person pay to the commissioner on account of the taxpayer's liability under this Act all or part of the money otherwise payable to the taxpayer.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), if the commissioner has knowledge or suspects that a person is about to advance money to a taxpayer, or make a payment on behalf of a taxpayer, or make a payment in respect of a negotiable instrument issued by a taxpayer, the commissioner may demand that that person pay to the commissioner on account of the taxpayer's liability under this Act the money that would otherwise be advanced or paid.

(2.1) A demand under this section may be served by

(a) personal service,

(b) registered mail, or

(c) electronic mail or fax.

(3) If under this section the commissioner demands that a person pay to the commissioner, on account of the liability under this Act of a taxpayer, money otherwise payable by that person to the taxpayer as interest, rent, remuneration, a dividend, an annuity or other periodic payment, the demand

(a) is applicable to all of those payments to be made by the person to the taxpayer until the liability under this Act is satisfied, and

(b) operates to require payments to the commissioner out of each payment of the amount stipulated by the commissioner in the demand.

(4) Money or a beneficial interest in money in a savings institution

(a) on deposit to the credit of a taxpayer, at the time a demand is served, or

(b) deposited to the credit of a taxpayer after a demand is served

is money for which the savings institution is indebted to the taxpayer within the meaning of this section, but money on deposit or deposited to the credit of a taxpayer as described in paragraph (a) or (b) does not include money on deposit or deposited to the credit of a taxpayer in that person's capacity as a trustee.

(5) A demand under this section continues in effect until

(a) the demand is satisfied, or

(b) 90 days after the demand is served,

whichever is earlier.

(6) Despite subsection (5), if a demand is made in respect of a periodic payment referred to in subsection (3), the demand continues in effect until it is satisfied unless no periodic payment is made or is liable to be made within 90 days after the demand is served, in which case the demand ceases to have effect on the expiration of that period.

(6.1) Money demanded from a person by the commissioner under this section becomes payable

(a) as soon as the person is served with the demand, if the person is indebted or liable to make a payment to the taxpayer at the time the demand is served, or

(b) as soon as the person becomes indebted or liable to make a payment to the taxpayer, in any other case.

(7) A person who fails to comply with a demand under subsection (1) or (3) is liable to pay to the government an amount equal to the amount that the person was required under subsection (1) or (3) to pay to the commissioner.

(8) A person who fails to comply with a demand under subsection (2) is liable to pay to the government an amount equal to the lesser of

(a) the aggregate of the money advanced or paid, and

(b) the amount that the person was required under subsection (2) to pay to the commissioner.

(9) The receipt of the commissioner for money paid under this section is a good and sufficient discharge of the original liability to the extent of the payment.

(10) Money paid by any person to the commissioner in compliance with a demand under this section is deemed to have been paid by that person to the taxpayer.

(11) If a person carries on business under a name or style other than the person's own name, the demand under subsection (1), (2) or (3) may be addressed to the name or style under which the person carries on business and, in the case of personal service, is deemed to have been validly served if it was left with an adult person employed at the place of business of the addressee.

(12) If persons carry on business in partnership, the demand under subsection (1), (2) or (3) may be addressed to the partnership name and, in the case of personal service, is deemed to have been validly served if it was served on one of the partners or left with an adult person employed at the place of business of the partnership.

Distress

26   (1) The commissioner may, or by agent may, levy an amount owing under this Act, with costs, by distress of

(a) goods and chattels of the person liable to pay the amount owing,

(b) goods and chattels in the person's possession, wherever they may be found within British Columbia, or

(c) goods and chattels found on the person's premises the property of or in the possession of any other occupant of the premises and that would be subject to distress for arrears of rent due to a landlord.

(2) The costs chargeable are those payable between landlord and tenant.

(3) If distress is made for the recovery of an amount owing under this Act, the commissioner or the agent must, by advertisement posted in at least 3 conspicuous public places in the locality where the sale of the property distrained is to be made, give at least 10 days' notice of the time and place of the sale and of the name of the taxpayer whose property is to be sold.

(4) At the time named in the notice, the commissioner or agent must sell at public auction the property distrained, or as much of it as may be necessary.

(5) If the property distrained is sold for more than the amount owing and costs, and no claim to the surplus is made by another person on the ground that the property sold belonged to that person, or that that person was entitled by lien or other right to the surplus, the surplus must be paid to the person who had possession of the property when the distress was made, and that person's receipt must be taken for it.

(6) If a claim is made by the taxpayer in respect of whom the property was distrained, and the claim is admitted, the surplus must be paid to the taxpayer, and the taxpayer's receipt must be taken for it.

(7) If the claim is contested, the surplus must be retained by the commissioner until the respective rights of the parties have been determined by action at law or otherwise.

Exercise of recovery powers

27   (1) The powers conferred by this Act for the recovery of an amount owing by action in court, by filing a certificate, by distress and by demand under section 25 may be exercised separately, concurrently or cumulatively.

(2) The liability of a person for payment of an amount owing under this Act is not affected by the fact that a fine or penalty has been imposed on or paid by the person for a contravention of this Act.

Limitation period

27.1   (1) In this section, "proceeding" means

(a) an action for the recovery of an amount owing,

(b) the filing of a certificate,

(c) the making of a demand, and

(d) the registration or enforcement of a lien

under this Act.

(2) A proceeding may be commenced at any time within 7 years after the date of an assessment of the amount claimed in the proceeding.

(3) Despite subsection (2), a proceeding that relates to a contravention of this Act or the regulations and that involves wilful default or fraud may be commenced at any time.

Waiver or cancellation of penalty

27.2   The commissioner may at any time waive or cancel all or part of any penalty otherwise payable by a person under this Act.

Penalty for failure to register with or notify commissioner

28   A person who fails to comply with either of the following provisions is liable to a penalty equal to $500:

(a) section 2 (1);

(b) section 2 (1.1).

Penalty for failure to deliver return

29   A taxpayer who fails to deliver a return under section 6 (1) or (2) in respect of a calendar year or contract, within the time required under this Act, is liable to a penalty equal to the total of

(a) 5% of the amount remaining unpaid of the taxpayer's tax payable under this Act in respect of the calendar year or contract on the date the return was required to be delivered, and

(b) the amount determined by the following formula:

amount = 1% × A × B
where
A=the amount remaining unpaid of the taxpayer's tax payable under this Act in respect of the calendar year or contract on the date the return was required to be delivered;
B=the number of months, not exceeding 12 and rounded down to the nearest whole number, in the period beginning on the date the return was required to be delivered and ending on the earlier of
(i) the date the return was delivered, and
(ii) the date a penalty is imposed under this section on the taxpayer.

Penalty for repeated failure to deliver return

29.1   If all of the following apply:

(a) a taxpayer fails to deliver a return under section 6 (1) or (2) in respect of a calendar year or contract within the time required under the Act;

(b) the taxpayer subsequently fails to furnish or deliver a return under section 6 (4) in respect of the calendar year or contract within the time required under the Act;

(c) a penalty was imposed on the taxpayer under section 29 in respect of a failure to deliver a return referred to in that section for any of the 3 preceding calendar years,

the taxpayer is liable to a penalty equal to the total of

(d) 10% of the amount remaining unpaid of the taxpayer's tax payable under this Act in respect of the calendar year or contract on the date the return referred to in paragraph (a) was required to be delivered, and

(e) the amount determined by the following formula:

amount = 2% × A × B
where
A=the amount remaining unpaid of the taxpayer's tax payable under this Act in respect of the calendar year or contract on the date the return referred to in paragraph (a) was required to be delivered;
B=the number of months, not exceeding 20 and rounded down to the nearest whole number, in the period beginning on the date the return referred to in paragraph (a) was required to be delivered and ending on the earlier of
(i) the date the return was delivered, and
(ii) the date a penalty is imposed under this section on the taxpayer.

Penalty for failure to provide required information

29.2   If a person who is required to deliver a return fails to include in the return any required information or fails to deliver with the return any other required information or records, the person is liable to a penalty of $100 for each failure.

Penalties respecting information and records

30   (1) A person who fails to comply with a provision specified in subsection (2) is liable, in respect of each failure, to a penalty equal to the greater of

(a) $100, and

(b) $25 for each day during which the failure continues, to a maximum of $2 500.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the following provisions are specified:

(a) section 12.2;

(b) section 12.3 (3).

Penalty for interfering with investigation, inspection or audit

30.1   A person who contravenes section 12.1 (6) (a) or (b) is liable to a penalty of $100 for each contravention.

Gross negligence

30.2   (1) In this section, "additional tax" means the amount by which the tax payable under this Act in respect of a calendar year or contract, calculated on the basis of accurate and complete information, exceeds the tax payable in respect of the calendar year or contract, calculated on the basis of the false statement or omission described in subsection (2).

(2) If a person knowingly, or under circumstances amounting to gross negligence, makes, or participates in, assents to or acquiesces in the making of, a false statement or an omission in a return, notice or other record delivered or supplied or in information supplied under this Act in respect of a calendar year or contract, the taxpayer is liable to a penalty equal to the greater of

(a) $100, and

(b) 50% of the additional tax.

Misrepresentation by third party

30.3   (1) Section 163.2 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) applies for the purposes of this Act with the changes the circumstances require for the purposes of this Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), in applying section 163.2 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) for the purposes of this Act, the following rules apply:

(a) a reference in that section to the Income Tax Act (Canada) is to be read as a reference to this Act;

(b) a reference in that section to an assessment is to be read as a reference to an assessment under this Act;

(c) that section is to be read without reference to the definition of "excluded activity" in subsection (1) of that section and without reference to subsections (7) and (8) (b) (i) and (ii) of that section;

(d) subsection (5) of that section is to be read as if

(i) the reference to "subsection 163 (2)" were a reference to section 30.2 (2) of this Act, and

(ii) the reference to "return filed for the purposes of this Act" were a reference to "return, notice or other record delivered or supplied or in information supplied under this Act";

(e) subsection (10) of that section must be read as if the reference to section 163 (3) were a reference to subsection (3) of this section;

(f) subsection (15) of that section must be read as if the reference to "or an employee engaged in an excluded activity" were excluded.

(3) In an appeal to the Supreme Court under section 18 of this Act, the onus is on the minister to establish the facts justifying the assessment of a penalty to which a person is liable under this section.

Repealed

31-32   [Repealed 2023-23-106.]

Section 5 of Offence Act

32.1   Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.

General offences

32.2   A person who does any of the following commits an offence:

(a) makes, or participates in, assents to or acquiesces in the making of, a false or deceptive statement in a return, notice or other record required to be delivered or supplied under this Act;

(b) destroys, alters, mutilates, hides or otherwise disposes of a record to evade payment of an amount to be paid to the government under this Act;

(c) makes, or participates in, assents to or acquiesces in the making of, a false or deceptive entry in a record related to an amount to be paid to the government under this Act;

(d) omits, or participates in, assents to or acquiesces in the omission of, a material particular in a record required to be kept under this Act;

(e) makes or uses, or participates in, assents to or acquiesces in the making or use of, a record in a false or deceptive manner in order to obtain a tax benefit;

(f) wilfully, in any manner, evades or attempts to evade payment of tax payable under this Act;

(g) conspires with any person to do anything described in paragraphs (a) to (f).

Penalties

32.3   (1) An individual who commits an offence under section 32.2 is liable to

(a) a fine of not less than 50% and not more than 200% of the amount of tax that was sought to be evaded,

(b) imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or

(c) both the fine and imprisonment referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection.

(2) A corporation that commits an offence under section 32.2 is liable to a fine of not less than 50% and not more than 200% of the amount of tax that was sought to be evaded.

Offences for failure to provide records or information required by commissioner or for interference

32.4   (1) A person commits an offence if the person contravenes any of the following provisions:

(a) section 12.1 (6) (a) or (b);

(b) section 12.2;

(c) section 12.3 (3).

(2) An individual who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable to

(a) a fine of not more than $100 000,

(b) imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or

(c) both the fine and imprisonment referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection.

(3) A corporation that commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable to a fine of not more than $100 000.

Offences in relation to taxpayer information

32.5   (1) A person commits an offence if the person

(a) contravenes section 38 (2), or

(b) knowingly contravenes an order made under section 38 (8).

(2) A person commits an offence if

(a) the person has been provided with taxpayer information for a particular purpose under section 38 (5) (a) to (c), (e), (f), (i) to (k) or (m), and

(b) the person knowingly, for a purpose other than the purpose referred to in paragraph (a), uses the information, provides the information or allows the information to be provided to any person or allows any person to access the information.

(3) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is liable to

(a) a fine of not more than $5 000,

(b) imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or

(c) both the fine and imprisonment referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection.

Offence by corporation

33   (1) If a corporation commits an offence under this Act, an employee, officer, director or agent of the corporation who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the offence also commits that offence, whether or not the corporation is prosecuted for the offence.

(2) In a prosecution for an offence under this Act, it is sufficient proof of the offence to establish that it was committed by an employee, officer, director or agent of the defendant, whether or not the employee, officer, director or agent is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence.

(3) Subsection (2) does not apply if the defendant establishes that the defendant exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

Method of providing notices and demands

34   (1) Subject to this section, a notice, other than a notice of assessment, and a demand that the minister, the commissioner or an officer is authorized or required to give to or make on a person under the provisions of this Act must be in writing directed to the person, and is sufficiently given or made

(a) if delivered to the person personally, or

(b) if delivered at or mailed by registered mail addressed to the person's address as stated in the person's last return made under this Act or as last known to the commissioner.

(1.1) A demand under section 25 is sufficiently made if it is delivered as set out in subsection (1) of this section or is sent by electronic mail or fax to the electronic mail address or fax number stated in the person's last return or to the last electronic mail address or fax number known to the commissioner.

(2) Proof of receipt by a person of a notice or demand referred to in subsection (1) may be established in a court by showing that the notice or demand was delivered, mailed or sent in a manner provided in that subsection, and the burden of proof is on the person seeking to establish that the notice or demand was not received by that person.

(2.1) Subsections (1) (a) and (b) and (2) do not apply to a demand notice under section 12.3.

(3) For the purpose of a prosecution or an action or proceedings in respect of a matter arising under this Act, the facts necessary to establish the giving of a notice or the making of a demand, or to establish compliance by the commissioner or other officer with a provision of this Act, or to establish the failure of a person to comply with a provision of this Act, may be sufficiently proved in a court by production of an affidavit of the commissioner or other officer of the minister's ministry setting out the facts.

Laying of information and hearings

35   (1) An information or complaint under this Act may be laid or made by a person authorized by the minister.

(2) An information or complaint for contravening any provisions of this Act may be for one or more offences, and no information, complaint, warrant, conviction or other proceeding in a prosecution under this Act is objectionable or insufficient by reason that it relates to 2 or more offences.

Limitation

36   An information in respect of an offence against this Act must be laid within 6 years from the time when the matter of the information arose.

Repealed

37   [Repealed 2023-23-110.]

Electronic payment

37.1   A person required to pay an amount to the government under this Act must pay the amount electronically in the manner required by the commissioner.

When payment is received

37.2   If, under this Act, an amount must or may be paid to the government, the amount is conclusively deemed to be paid on the date it is received by the government.

Information sharing

38   (1) In this section:

"authorized person" means a person who is engaged or employed, or was formerly engaged or employed, by or on behalf of the government, to assist in carrying out the provisions of this Act;

"official" means any person

(a) who is employed in the service of, is engaged by or on behalf of, or occupies a position of responsibility in the service of the government of British Columbia, another province or Canada, or

(b) who was formerly so employed or engaged or formerly occupied such a position;

"police officer" means a police officer as defined in section 462.48 (17) of the Criminal Code;

"taxpayer information" means information of any kind and in any form, relating to one or more taxpayers,

(a) that is obtained for the purposes of this Act by or on behalf of the minister, or

(b) that is prepared from information referred to in paragraph (a),

but does not include information that does not directly or indirectly reveal the identity of the taxpayer to whom the information relates;

"US state official" means any person

(a) who is employed in the service of, is engaged by or on behalf of, or occupies a position of responsibility in the service of the government of a state of the United States of America, or

(b) who was formerly so employed or engaged or formerly occupied such a position.

(2) Despite any other enactment or law, except as authorized by this section, an official must not

(a) knowingly provide, or knowingly allow to be provided, any taxpayer information to any person,

(b) knowingly allow any person to have access to any taxpayer information, or

(c) knowingly use any taxpayer information otherwise than in the course of the administration and enforcement of this Act or for a purpose for which it was provided under this section.

(3) Despite any other enactment or law, an official must not be required, in connection with any legal proceedings, to give or produce evidence relating to any taxpayer information.

(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply in relation to the following:

(a) criminal proceedings that have been commenced by the laying of an information or the preferring of an indictment under an Act of the Parliament of Canada;

(b) any legal proceedings relating to the administration or enforcement of any enactment of British Columbia, another province or Canada that provides for the imposition or collection of a tax or duty.

(5) Subject to subsection (6), an official may do one or more of the following:

(a) provide to any person taxpayer information that can reasonably be considered necessary for the purposes of the administration or enforcement of this Act, solely for those purposes;

(b) provide to any person taxpayer information that can reasonably be considered necessary for the purposes of determining

(i) any tax, interest, penalty or other amount that is or may become payable by the person under this Act,

(ii) any refund to which the person is or may become entitled under this Act, or

(iii) any other amount that is relevant for the purposes of a determination under subparagraph (i) or (ii);

(c) provide taxpayer information as follows:

(i) to an official of the Department of Finance of the government of Canada, solely for the purposes of the formulation or evaluation of fiscal policy;

(ii) to an official solely for the purposes of the initial implementation of a fiscal policy;

(iii) to an official of the ministry of the minister, solely for the purposes of the formulation or evaluation of fiscal policy;

(iv) to an official solely for the purposes of the administration or enforcement of an enactment of British Columbia that provides for the imposition or collection of a tax or duty;

(v) to an official solely for the purposes of the administration or enforcement of an Act of the Parliament of Canada, or an enactment of another province, that provides for the imposition or collection of a tax or duty;

(vi) to an official solely for the purposes of the compilation of statistical information by the government or the government of Canada, as the case may be;

(vii) to an official solely for the purposes of setting off, against any sum of money that may be due or payable by the government, a debt due to the government;

(d) provide taxpayer information to a US state official solely for the purposes of the administration or enforcement of an enactment of a state of the United States of America that provides for the imposition or collection of a tax or duty;

(e) provide taxpayer information, or allow inspection of or access to taxpayer information, as the case may be, under, and solely for the purposes of,

(i) sections 44 (1) and 61 (1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or

(ii) sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Auditor General Act;

(f) provide taxpayer information as provided for in, or ordered under, section 239 or 242 of the Family Law Act or section 8.2 or 9 of the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act;

(g) provide taxpayer information relating to a taxpayer

(i) to the taxpayer, and

(ii) with the consent of the taxpayer, to any other person;

(h) use taxpayer information to compile information in a form that does not directly or indirectly reveal the identity of the taxpayer to whom the information relates;

(i) provide taxpayer information solely for the purposes of sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Financial Administration Act;

(j) provide taxpayer information to the BC Financial Services Authority, established under section 2 of the Financial Services Authority Act, solely for the purposes of administering the Financial Institutions Act or another enactment under which the BC Financial Services Authority has administrative responsibilities;

(k) use, or provide to any person, taxpayer information solely for a purpose relating to the supervision, evaluation or discipline of an authorized person by the government in respect of a period during which the authorized person was employed by, or engaged by or on behalf of, the government to assist in the administration or enforcement of this Act, to the extent that the information is relevant for the purpose;

(l) provide taxpayer information to a police officer, solely for the purposes of an investigation into whether an offence has been committed under the Criminal Code, or the laying of an information or the preferring of an indictment, if

(i) the taxpayer information can reasonably be considered necessary for the purpose of ascertaining, with respect to an official, or with respect to any person related to the official,

(A) the circumstances in which an offence under the Criminal Code may have been committed, or

(B) the identity of the person who may have committed an offence under the Criminal Code,

(ii) the official was or is engaged in the administration or enforcement of this Act, and

(iii) the offence can reasonably be considered to be related to the administration or enforcement of this Act;

(m) provide taxpayer information to, or allow inspection of or access to taxpayer information by, any person otherwise legally entitled to the information under a prescribed enactment of British Columbia, solely for the purposes for which the person is entitled to the information.

(6) Except in accordance with an information-sharing agreement entered into under section 38.1, an official must not, under subsection (5) (a) to (d) and (i) to (m) of this section, provide taxpayer information to, or allow inspection of or access to taxpayer information by,

(a) an official of a public body, as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, other than the ministry of the minister,

(b) an official of the government of Canada,

(c) an official of the government of another province, or

(d) a US state official.

(7) An official may provide to appropriate persons any taxpayer information relating to imminent danger of death or physical injury to any individual.

(8) The person who presides at a legal proceeding relating to the supervision, evaluation or discipline of an authorized person may make orders necessary to ensure that taxpayer information is not used or provided to any person for any purpose unrelated to the proceeding, including

(a) an order that the proceeding be held in private,

(b) an order banning publication of the taxpayer information,

(c) an order to conceal the identity of the taxpayer to whom the taxpayer information relates, and

(d) an order sealing the records of the proceeding.

(9) To the extent of any inconsistency or conflict with section 32 or 33 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, this section applies despite that Act.

Information-sharing agreements

38.1   (1) In this section:

"information-sharing agreement" means an agreement or arrangement to exchange, by electronic data transmission, electronic data matching or any other means, information for a purpose described in section 38 (5);

"taxpayer information" has the same meaning as in section 38.

(2) The minister may enter into an information-sharing agreement with

(a) a public body as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,

(b) the government of Canada or an agency of that government,

(c) the government of a province or other jurisdiction in Canada or an agency of that government, or

(d) the government of a state of the United States of America or an agency of that government.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), taxpayer information obtained by the minister under an information-sharing agreement may be used or disclosed only for the purposes for which it was obtained under the applicable agreement.

(4) Subsection (3) does not prevent

(a) any taxpayer information obtained by the minister under an information-sharing agreement with the government of Canada or an agency of that government from being used or disclosed for the purpose of administering and enforcing an enactment administered by the minister that provides for the imposition or collection of a tax or duty, or

(b) any taxpayer information obtained by the minister under an information-sharing agreement from being used or disclosed for the purpose of administering and enforcing an Act of the Parliament of Canada that provides for the imposition or collection of a tax or duty.

(5) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may prescribe terms and conditions to be included in the information-sharing agreements entered into by the minister.

(6) For the purposes of section 38 (6), an information-sharing agreement entered into before the coming into force of this section is considered to be an information-sharing agreement entered into by the minister under this section.

Staff

39   Officers and employees considered necessary for the administration of this Act may be appointed under the Public Service Act.

Delegation

40   (1) The commissioner may, in writing, delegate any of the commissioner's powers or duties under this Act.

(2) A delegation under subsection (1) may be to a named person or to a class of persons.

Power to make regulations

41   The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.