Refund of PST on legal fees paid by low-income clients

October 26, 2007

The Consumer Taxation Branch of the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue has released information for low-income persons wishing to apply for a refund of PST paid on legal fees while the decision in BC (Attorney General) v. Christie, 2007 SCC 21, was under appeal.

Eligible individuals may apply for refunds of PST paid on legal fees (whether for barristers' services or solicitors' services) billed after February 7, 2005 and before December 20, 2005.

Refunds are also available for PST paid on barristers' services (but not solicitors' services) billed on or after December 20, 2005 and before May 25, 2007.

Low-income individuals must demonstrate that on the date of the account for legal services, the family household income met the financial eligibility test set by the government.

The government has stipulated that court awards and settlements of court actions (including ICBC settlements) are to be included in net income when determining family household income as part of the financial eligibility test.

The eligible individual must list and include copies of all legal accounts as part of the refund application. The lawyer's invoice should show that the services provided met the definition of "barristers' services."

For more information and financial eligibility guidelines, see:
Ministry of Small Business and Revenue - Notice to Tax Payers

For refund application forms, see:
Application for refund of tax on legal services

Additional information is available from: