Determining Whether a Public Service Body is Resident in a Province for Purposes of the Public Service Bodies' Rebate

GST/HST Info Sheet GI-121
August 2017

This version replaces the one dated August 2011.

This info sheet explains the rules for determining whether a public service body (PSB), as defined herein, is resident in a particular province for the purposes of claiming a PSB rebate of the provincial part of the HST. It also includes questions to help PSBs make that determination.

This determination has no bearing on a PSB’s ability to claim a PSB rebate of the GST or federal part of the HST.

For information on the PSB rebate, refer to Guide RC4034, GST/HST Public Service Bodies’ Rebate.

Meaning of significant terms

“Federal corporation” means a corporation incorporated or continued under the laws of the Parliament of Canada.

“Fixed place of activities” includes a determined or ascertained space in which there is some presence or routine over which the PSB has some degree of control and in which some undertaking or operations of the PSB occur. In most cases, this includes an office, branch, factory, workshop, warehouse, plant, mine, oil well, farm, timberland, or natural resource used in the day-to-day activities of the PSB. It does not mean that the place of activities must exist for a long time or be located in a durable building. For instance, a temporary field office on a construction site could be a fixed place of activities. For more information, refer to Interpretation Bulletin IT-177R2 (Consolidated), Permanent Establishment of a Corporation in a Province.

“Participating province” is a province that has harmonized its provincial sales tax with the GST to implement the HST. The participating provinces are New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island. The participating provinces do not include the Nova Scotia offshore area or the Newfoundland offshore area except to the extent that offshore activities, as defined in subsection 123(1) of the Excise Tax Act, are carried on in that area.

British Columbia was a participating province from July 1, 2010 until March 31, 2013.

“Provincial corporation” means a corporation incorporated or continued under the laws of a provincial legislature.

“Public service body,” for the purpose of this info sheet, means:

  • a non-profit organization;
  • a charity;
  • a selected public service body.

Resident in a province

A PSB that is resident in a participating province may be eligible to claim a PSB rebate of the provincial part of HST paid or payable on eligible purchases and expenses using the applicable provincial rebate rate for that province.

A person (including a PSB) is deemed to be resident in a province if the person is resident in Canada and

  • if the person is a corporation, the corporation is incorporated or continued under the laws of that province and not continued elsewhere;
  • if the person is a partnership, an unincorporated society, a club, an association, or an organization, or a branch thereof, the member, or a majority of the members, having management and control is or are resident in that province;
  • if the person is a labour union, it is carrying on activities as such in that province and has a local union or branch in that province; or
  • if, in any case, the person has a permanent establishment in that province.

Permanent establishment

A PSB has a permanent establishment in a province if a place in that province would be a permanent establishment for income tax purposes under the following circumstances:

  • the PSB were a corporation; and
  • the PSB’s activities were a business for income tax purposes.

Normally, a permanent establishment is a fixed place of activities. However, in addition to having a fixed place of activities, there are other circumstances where a PSB may have, or be deemed to have, a “permanent establishment” in a province. For example, a PSB is deemed to have a permanent establishment in a particular place if it carries on activities through an employee or agent established in that place with a general authority to contract on behalf of the PSB. For a full list of the circumstances where a PSB will have, or be deemed to have, a permanent establishment in a province, read questions 4 to 11 below.

Determining the province(s) in which a PSB is resident

For the purposes of the PSB rebate, the following questions will help a PSB determine the province(s) in which it is resident. This determination must be made for each claim period for which it wishes to claim a PSB rebate of the provincial part of the HST.

A PSB is considered to be resident in every province identified in the answers to questions 1 to 3 below, as applicable :

  1. If the PSB is a provincial corporation, in which province is the PSB currently incorporated or continued? This question does not apply to a PSB that is a federal corporation.
  2. If the PSB is unincorporated, in which province is the member, or majority of the members, having management and control of the PSB resident?
  3. If the PSB is a labour union, in which province(s) does it carry on its activities and have a local union or branch office?

    A PSB is also resident in every province in which it has a permanent establishment (read note 1 below). The following questions will help a PSB determine if it has a permanent establishment in any province. A PSB is considered to be resident in every province identified in the answers to questions 4 to 11 below, as applicable.
  4. Answer question 4(a) or 4(b), as applicable:
    • In which province(s) does the PSB have a fixed place of activities?
    • If the PSB does not have any fixed place of activities, in which province is the principal place where the PSB’s activities are conducted?
  5. If the PSB carries on activities through an employee who is established in a particular place and has general authority to contract for the employer PSB, in which province is that particular place located?
  6. If the PSB carries on activities through an employee who is established in a particular place and has a stock of merchandise owned by the employer PSB from which the employee regularly fills orders which the employee receives, in which province is that particular place located?
  7. If the PSB carries on activities through an agent who is established in a particular place and has general authority to contract for the principal PSB, in which province is that particular place located? (See note 2 below.)
  8. If the PSB carries on activities through an agent who is established in a particular place and has a stock of merchandise owned by the principal PSB from which the agent regularly fills orders which the agent receives, in which province is that particular place located? (See note 2 below.)
  9. If the PSB uses substantial machinery or equipment in a particular place at any time during the claim period, in which province is that particular place located? (“Substantial” may relate to the equipment’s size, quantity, or dollar value. Generally, where a PSB uses (rented or owned) substantial machinery or equipment in a province either for 30 continuous days or for 90 cumulative days in a 12-month period, the PSB would meet this requirement.).
  10. If any of questions 4 to 9 have applied to the PSB, in which other province(s) (if any) does the PSB own land?
  11. If none of questions 4 to 10 have applied to the PSB, in which province is the PSB’s head office or registered office as set out in its governing documents or bylaws?

Note 1 

The fact that an incorporated PSB has a subsidiary controlled corporation in a place or a subsidiary controlled corporation engaged in trade or business in a place shall not in and of itself be held to mean that the PSB is operating a permanent establishment in that place.

Note 2 

The fact that a PSB has activities through a commission agent, broker, or other independent agent or maintains an office solely for the purchase of merchandise does not always mean that the PSB has a permanent establishment in that province.

Further information

All GST/HST technical publications are available on the CRA webpage Technical information – GST/HST.

To make a GST/HST enquiry by telephone:

  • for GST/HST general enquiries, call Business Enquiries at 1-800-959-5525;
  • for GST/HST technical enquiries, call GST/HST Rulings at 1-800-959-8287.

If you are located in Quebec, call Revenu Québec at 1-800-567-4692 or visit their website at revenuquebec.ca.

If you are a selected listed financial institution (whether or not you are located in Quebec) and require information on the GST/HST or the QST, go to GST/HST and QST - Financial institutions, including selected listed financial institutions or

  • for general GST/HST or QST enquiries, call Business Enquiries at 1-800-959-5525;
  • for technical GST/HST or QST enquiries, call GST/HST Rulings SLFI at 1-855-666-5166.

All legislative references in this publication are to the Excise Tax Act unless otherwise specified. The information in this publication does not replace the law found in the Act and its regulations.

If this information does not completely address your particular situation, you may wish to refer to the Act or relevant regulation, or call GST/HST Rulings at 1-800-959-8287 for additional information. If you require certainty with respect to any particular GST/HST matter, you may request a ruling. GST/HST Memorandum 1-4, Excise and GST/HST Rulings and Interpretations Service explains how to obtain a ruling or an interpretation and lists the GST/HST rulings centres.

GST/HST rates

Reference in this publication is made to supplies that are subject to the GST or the HST. The HST applies in the participating provinces at the following rates: 13% in Ontario and 15% in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The GST applies in the rest of Canada at the rate of 5%. If you are uncertain as to whether a supply is made in a participating province, see GST/HST Technical Information Bulletin B-103, Harmonized Sales Tax – Place of Supply Rules for Determining Whether a Supply is Made in a Province.

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