VICTORIA - The tax that launched a province-wide referendum, forced a premier out of office and set off a series of political apologies is officially on its way out.

British Columbia's finance minister introduced legislation that will help the province make the transition from the harmonized sales tax back to the provincial sales tax on April 1.

The introduction of Bill 2 by Mike de Jong comes almost 18 months after British Columbians voted in a referendum to dump the harmonized sales tax in favour of the PST.

The bill includes provisions like keeping the tax and price of tobacco constant, returns a 2.7 cents per litre tax on propane, and clarifies taxes on heating oil, non-motor fuel oil and natural gas.

After the tax was rejected by voters, the provincial government worked out an agreement to repay the federal government the $1.6 billion it gave the province as an incentive to blend the taxes.

The 12 per cent harmonized sales tax was a combination of the federal goods and services tax and the PST, and the ministry says more than 100,000 businesses will need to register to make the transition.

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