If Metro Vancouver residents approve the proposed 0.5 per cent increase to the local sales tax to support public transit investments, the new tax will also be applicable to newly purchased vehicles in the region.
B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone has agreed to the Mayors’ Council request to tax the purchase of new vehicles based on the vehicle’s place of registration regardless of the place of purchase.
This effectively erases concerns that the new Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax (MVCIT) could put local auto dealerships in a disadvantage – that residents in Metro Vancouver could purchase their vehicle in the Fraser Valley or Squamish to avoid having the tax.
“We are pleased that Minister Stone recognizes that the mayors are working towards the most fair and equitable tax for Metro Vancouver consumers,” reads a statement by Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese.
The model of charging the tax based on the place of residence follows similar tax structures in Seattle and the United States. This information is already available to ICBC, which requires vehicles be registered based on the place of residence for the use of determining the rates insurance customers pay.
“Following this model for new vehicles will allow auto dealerships to remain competitive with dealers outside of the region, while ensuring consumers that the tax is fairly applied.”
The MVCIT will apply to everything that the PST does and is meant to help fund $7.5 billion in new transportation infrastructure for the region. There will be no major differences in exemptions and no extra bookkeeping for local businesses.
About 1.5 million residents in Metro Vancouver are eligible to vote in the transit plebiscite. Ballots began arriving in the mail earlier this week and should arrive in all mailboxes by March 27.
Voters will have until 8 p.m. on Friday, May 29 to send their sealed ballots to Elections B.C. For more information on how to vote, click here.