B.C. employers can apply for a tax credit for hiring, rehiring laid-off employees or increasing hours. (Vernon Morning Star)

B.C. employers can apply for a tax credit for hiring, rehiring laid-off employees or increasing hours. (Vernon Morning Star)

B.C. opens applications for COVID-19 hiring, rehiring tax credit

Credit can be applied to outstanding employer health tax

The B.C. government is taking applications for a tax credit from private sector employers who can show an increase in payroll for the last three months of 2020.

Funded with $190 million from the province’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan, the tax credit can cover up to 15 per cent of any increase in eligible payroll paid in the last quarter, and the finance ministry says it could reach $2,230 per employee.

The credit is available to all employers in B.C. except public institutions and political parties. Credits would be applied first to amounts owing from the province’s employer health tax, a payroll tax brought in by the NDP to replace Medical Services Plan premiums paid by employers and individuals.

“We consulted the business community last year about measures that would help them get back on their feet and build their confidence,” Finance Minister Selina Robinson said in a statement March 30.

The ministry suggests businesses should file their 2020 employer health tax return before applying for the hiring tax credit.

RELATED: B.C. health tax wins ‘paperweight award’ from business group

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