Extra insurance

Consumers and businesses aren't the only ones who need help figuring out how the harmonized sales tax will effect them. Yesterday, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia quietly announced it was looking for a contractor to identify any changes it must make to comply with the new system. The deadline to apply for that work is September 11. The following is complete copy of the relevant portion of the bid document.

2. Background

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) operates three lines of business: Basic insurance, Optional insurance, and Non-insurance. ICBC's Basic insurance line of business is regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) pursuant to section 49, Division 2 of the Insurance Corporation Act.

Through a Reciprocal Tax Agreement between the Province of BC and the Federal Government, ICBC is exempt from GST for costs incurred on its own behalf.

On July 23, 2009, it was announced that the Province of BC intends to harmonize the provincial sales tax (PST) and the federal goods and services tax (GST). This new harmonized sales tax (HST) is intended to become effective July 1, 2010.

As a crown corporation, ICBC will be conducting a review of all its current financial processes, systems and documentation to identify any changes necessary to comply with HST.

3. Scope of EOI

The intent of the EOI is to identify qualified, knowledgeable and experienced commodity tax consulting firms who have the ability and expertise to provide consulting services for the implementation and transition of the new provincial harmonized sales tax to ensure ICBC is in full compliance effective July 1, 2010.

4. Objectives Of EOI

With the information obtained through this EOI, ICBC expects to gain an in-depth understanding of a professional consultant's knowledge and experience which would include, but is not limited to:

* Providing advice on the application of HST in all business areas such as claims, insurance, procurement and reporting to ensure compliance with requirements dictating how and when the tax should be applied;
* Providing advice on changes, if any, related to ICBC's GST tax-exempt status resulting from the Reciprocal Tax Agreement;
* Identifying and providing advice on systems impacts and changes required
* Reviewing practices, procedures and documentation, such as invoices, to ensure compliance with documentation requirements;
* Developing a common point of reference for all ICBC HST-related policies, procedures and documentation; with defined "functional owners" and established processes and protocols for updating policies, procedures and documentation on an ongoing basis;
* Providing ongoing advice on an as-required basis;
* Providing effective knowledge transfer to key staff; and
* Providing value-added services such as training.

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