The P.E.I. government laid out more specific details Thursday on how it plans to bring in Harmonized Sales Tax on April 1 and what businesses need to know.  

Thursday marked the deadline for certain businesses and public service bodies who purchase goods out of province to beat the HST.  

Apex Homes, which builds houses which purchases some materials off-Island, said Thursday's deadline caught them off-guard.  

"We were anticipating maybe having a little bit of leeway to talk to customers about completing contracts before a certain time, but I guess we're not going to get that," said Richard Eaton of Apex Homes.  

The guidelines laid out in the document also set an earlier date for consumers trying to beat the tax on certain purchases.  

The cut off date for pre-purchasing most items ahead if the HST will be Feb. 1. But there are exceptions for some items to allow for a smooth transition.  

For instance, in most cases the HST will not apply to prepaid funerals with arrangements made before April 1 of next year. 

Newspaper and magazine subscriptions will also be exempt, as will round-trip journeys on bus or plane trips that start before April 1.  

In addition, the HST will generally not apply to round-trip passenger transportation services before April 1.

There will be a rebate available for provincial sales tax embedded in construction materials purchased before April 1 that are being used in home renovation contracts.  

"There is a lot of urgency out there for people to — if they can complete the sale, do it now," said Eaton.  

The guidelines are online at www.peihst.ca/links.