B.C. Liberals: Horgan abandons promise of flexibility; small businesses must pay deferred taxes within 28 days

THE B.C. Liberals on Thursday said that despite Premier John Horgan’s promises of flexibility and claims of listening to businesses, his government has decided against extending tax deferrals, forcing countless already-struggling small businesses to suddenly pay months of deferred taxes in a lump sum by the end of September.

“Small businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet in every corner of B.C. and instead of offering further supports, John Horgan and the NDP just decided to hand them a massive bill,” said Shirley Bond, BC Liberal Co-Critic for Finance and Prince George-Valemount MLA. “They could have extended the deadline or put together a payment plan to help businesses cope with costs, especially after the Premier publicly promised flexibility, but the NDP has instead chosen to ignore the voices of workers and small business owners by quietly announcing, through a late-day news release, that businesses are now required to pay for months of pandemic-deferred taxes all within the next 28 days.”

The NDP introduced these tax deferral programs on March 23 as part of the province’s COVID-19 Action Plan and were presented as a way to provide relief for struggling businesses. When asked last month about tax deferral deadlines, Horgan promised, “We fully intend to be as flexible as we can be,” but it appears that his government has decided against flexibility or leniency and will now punish businesses and their employees, said the B.C. Liberals.

“These tax deferrals were designed to provide aid to struggling businesses. It’s ridiculous to see a relief measure like this suddenly end in a massive lump sum payment to the government, especially while the pandemic is still severely impacting businesses,” added Stephanie Cadieux, BC Liberal Finance Co-Critic and Surrey South MLA. “We’ve been asking the government to reconsider this deadline for months and were repeatedly told that the NDP were working with businesses. But it turns out that NDP never intended to change their plan and have left it to the last minute to surprise businesses, telling them they will instead need to find the money and pay up now.”

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economies and they deserve so much better from Horgan and the NDP government, said the B.C. Liberals.​