GST/HST and Indigenous peoples

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Paying or charging the GST/HST
GST/HST rebates available
Documents you need for GST/HST relief
GST/HST responsibilities as a vendor
Other taxes specific to First Nations and Aboriginal Governments

The Canada Revenue Agency wants you to be aware of GST/HST requirements that apply to you as an Indian, an Indian band, or a band-empowered entity under the Indian Act. We recognize that many First Nations people in Canada prefer not to describe as Indians. However, the term Indian is used because it has a legal meaning in the Indian Act.


Paying or charging the GST/HST

In general, everyone has to pay tax in Canada, except when you are an Indian, Indian band, or band-empowered entity and you meet the conditions in Technical Interpretation Bulletin B-039, GST/HST Administrative Policy – Application of the GST/HST to Indians. This policy is consistent with section 87 of the Indian Act under which personal property of an Indian or a Indian band situated on a reserve and their interests in reserves or designated lands qualify for tax relief. Inuit and Métis people are not eligible for this exemption.

To determine if the GST/HST applies on property and services, see the following tabs.

Property

Property (not including property that is taxable at 0%)

Generally, Indians do not pay the GST/HST on property bought on a reserve or delivered to a reserve by a vendor or the vendor's agent. However, the GST/HST does apply in some cases. See the chart below for various situations.

How the GST/HST applies to property

Purchaser Situation Does the GST/HST apply?
Indian, Indian band, or band-empowered entity You bought property on a reserve.

You presented the proper document to the vendor.

No.

Example 1

Indian, Indian band, or an unincorporated
band-empowered entity
You bought property off a reserve.

You presented the proper document to the vendor.

The vendor or vendor's agent delivered the property to a reserve.

No.

Example 2

Incorporated
band-empowered entity

You bought property off a reserve.

The property is for band management activities

You presented the proper document to the vendor. 

The vendor or vendor's agent delivered the property to a reserve.

No.

Example 3

Indian

You bought property off a reserve.

You used your vehicle to transport the property to a reserve.

Yes.

Example 4

There is an exception in Ontario 1

Indian

You bought property off a reserve from a vendor who qualifies and operates as a remote store.

You presented the proper document to the vendor.

You used your vehicle to transport the property to a reserve.

No.

Example 5

Indian, Indian band, or band-empowered entity

You imported property to Canada.

Yes, even if after being imported the property is delivered to a reserve by Canada Post, the vendor, or the
vendor's agent.

Example 6

Non-Indian

You bought property on a reserve.

Yes.

Example 7

1 Exception in Ontario: On certain supplies of property or services, only the federal part (5%) of the HST applies because point-of-sale relief for the provincial part (8%) of HST is provided. See HST Point-of-Sale exemption.

Services

Services

Generally, Indians do not pay the GST/HST on services performed entirely on a reserve. However, the GST/HST does apply in some cases. See the chart below for various situations.

How the GST/HST applies to services

Purchaser Situation Does the GST/HST apply?
Indian

You paid for a service performed entirely on a reserve.

You presented the proper document to the vendor.

No.

Example 1

Indian

You paid for a service not entirely performed on a reserve.

Yes, unless the service purchased is related to real property interests on a reserve.

Example 2

Indian

You paid for a service related to real property off a reserve.

Yes.

Example 3

Indian

You paid for a service performed off a reserve.

This service is related to real property interests on a reserve.

You presented the proper document to the vendor.

No.

Example 4

Indian band or band-empowered entity (incorporated or not incorporated)

You paid for a service related to band management activities on or off a reserve or for a service related to real property on a reserve.

You presented the proper document to the vendor.

No, unless the service is related to off-reserve transportation, short-term accommodations, meals, or entertainment.

Example 5

Indian band or band-empowered entity (incorporated or not incorporated)

You paid for a service off a reserve.

This service is related to transportation, meals, short-term accommodations, or entertainment.

Yes. However, you may be entitled to recover the GST/HST paid on these services.

Example 6

Indian

You paid for a transportation service.

Both the origin and the destination are on a reserve.

You presented the proper document to the vendor.

No.

Example 7

Indian, Indian band, or band-empowered entity

You paid for a transportation service.

The origin, the destination, or both are off a reserve.

Yes.

Example 8

Non-Indian

You paid for a service on a reserve.

Yes.

Example 9

 

GST/HST rebates available

GST/HST rebates

Purchaser

Situation

Rebate eligibility

Indian, Indian band, or band-empowered entity You paid the GST/HST in error. You may be eligible to claim a general rebate, under Reason code 1A – Amounts paid in error for property or services purchased on or delivered to a reservce.
Indian, Indian band, or band-empowered entity

In Ontario, you paid the provincial part of the HST in error because the vendor did not apply the Ontario point-of-sale relief on qualifying property and services. 

You may be eligible to claim a rebate for the provincial part of the HST, under Ontario HST Refund for First Nations.

Indian band or
band-empowered entity

You paid GST/HST on certain travel expenses you incurred off a reserve (for example, transportation, meeting rooms, short-term accommodations, meals, and entertainment expenses).

These expenses are for band management activities or for real property located on a reserve.

You may be eligible to claim a general rebate, under Reason Code 8 – Indian band, tribal council, or band-empowered entity.

Band-empowered entity

You are a charity, qualifying non-profit organization or selected public service body and you paid GST/HST.

Note
Band funding of a non-profit organization is considered the same as government funding when determining if the organization is a qualifying non-profit organization.

You may be eligible to claim a public service bodies' rebate of a percentage of the GST and the federal part of the HST, on Form GST66, Application for GST/HST Public Service Bodies' Rebate and GST Self-Government Refund.

You may also be eligible to claim a public service bodies' rebate of a percentage of the provincial part of the HST under line 306 of Form RC7066-SCH, Provincial Schedule – GST/HST Public Service Bodies' Rebate.

If you are a GST/HST registrant vendor and you applied a GST/HST relief on goods you sold  off a reserve in Ontario, you may be eligible to claim a general rebate under Reason code 23 – Ontario First Nations point-of-sale relief.

Documents you need for GST/HST relief

To be eligible for GST/HST relief, you have to get proof of Indian-status registration with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). For more information, see Indian Status.

As a vendor, if you do not charge the GST/HST on sales of taxable property and services, you need proof that the purchaser is an Indian, an Indian band, or a band-empowered entity. The chart below shows the different documents you need to ask for and keep in your records.

Documents needed for GST/HST relief

Purchaser

 
Documents and records needed

 
Information needed when property is delivered to a reserve
 
Indian

Status card – You need to record on the invoice or other sales document an Indian’s 10-digit registry number or their band name, which is on the card.

Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document (TCRD) – Some individuals who are registered as Indians under the Indian Act will receive this document from ISC. You need to record the individual’s registration number and expiration date as shown on the TCRD to the invoice or other sales document. A photocopy of the TCRD presented at the time of a sale does not qualify as appropriate documentation. 

Note
For more information, see Is your status card still valid.

The vendor must also keep proof that the property was delivered to a reserve (for example, a waybill, postal receipt, or freight bill). The property must be delivered by either the vendor or the vendor’s agent. For more information, see Purchases of property made off a reserve and delivered to a reserve.

Indian band or band-empowered entity

An original certificate stating any of the following information:

  • that the property is being acquired by an Indian band or an unincorporated band-empowered entity
  • in the case of an incorporated band-empowered entity, that the property is being acquired for band management activities or for real property on a reserve
  • that the service is being acquired for band management activities or for real property on a reserve
The vendor must also keep proof that the property was delivered to a reserve (for example, a waybill, postal receipt, or freight bill). The property must be delivered by either the vendor or the vendor’s agent. For more information, see Purchases of property made off a reserve and delivered to a reserve.

GST/HST responsibilities as a vendor

Generally, as a business owner, you have to register for a GST/HST account when revenues from your taxable supplies of property and services total more than $30,000 annually. This includes tax-relieved sales.

After you have registered for the GST/HST, you must collect the GST/HST on your taxable sales of property and services. To determine if GST/HST applies to sales made to Indians, Indian bands, and band-empowered entities, see Paying or charging the GST/HST.

You may also be able to claim input tax credits for the GST/HST paid on purchases related to your commercial activities. For more information see, Input tax credits.

Keeping proper records

You must keep proper records when you sell taxable property and services to Indians, Indian bands, and band-empowered entities. You need to ask for the appropriate documents and record certain information, or attach the appropriate documents to your invoices or sales receipts.

Vendor that qualifies as a remote store

The requirement for property to be delivered to a reserve by a vendor or a vendor's agent will be waived if the vendor qualifies as a remote store under one of the three options described in GST/HST Policy Statement P-246, Remote stores and other off-reserve stores with significant sales to Indians, Indian bands and band-empowered entities.

If you choose to operate as a remote store, you must keep proper documents for the sales you made to Indians, Indian bands, and band-empowered entities. Operating as a remote store does not change the reporting period for filing GST/HST returns.

If you qualify and decide to operate as a remote store, each year, you have to let your tax services office know how you are operating.

Documents for self-governing First Nations

You may come across situations where Indians are members of a First Nation having a self-government agreement in place. In these cases, they will need to provide additional documents to determine if the tax relief under the Indian Act still applies. For more information, see GST/HST Notice 238, First Nations with a Self-Government Agreement Ending Indian Act Tax Relief – Determining Tax Relief for Indian Members.

Other taxes specific to First Nations and Aboriginal Governments

Some band councils or other governing bodies of First Nations have passed their own laws imposing:

There are exceptions to the application of the GST/HST to Yukon First Nations. For more information, see GST/HST Notice 143, Application of GST/FNGST to Yukon First Nations and their Members.

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