GST/HST information for governments and diplomats

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How the GST/HST applies to the federal government
How the GST/HST applies to provincial and territorial governments
How the GST/HST applies to diplomats and foreign representatives
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How the GST/HST applies to the federal government

In general, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers the federal government to be a single entity that includes all of its departments, branches, agencies, and some corporations. Federal Crown corporations are separate legal entities and are registered separately for GST/HST purposes.

Supplies made to the federal government

A supplier must charge the GST/HST on the taxable supplies of property and services it makes to the federal government. Special rules may apply to supplies of real property. For more information, see GST/HST Memoranda Series Chapter 19, Real Property.

A supplier may be eligible to claim input tax credits for any GST/HST paid or payable on purchases it made to make taxable supplies of property and services. For more information, go to Input tax credits.

Supplies made by the federal government

The federal government must charge the GST/HST on its taxable supplies of most property and services. However, a number of supplies provided by government entities are exempt.

Examples – Exempt supplies made by a government
  • registering a property or filing a document in a property registration system
  • filing or procuring a document in a court
  • charging for a licence, permit, quota or similar right (other than such a right supplied to import alcoholic beverages) and a service to apply for such a right
  • providing information about or a certificate or other document showing:
    • a person's vital statistics, residency, citizenship, or right to vote
    • a person's registration to any service the government provides
    • any other status of a person
  • providing information or a certificate or other document about any of the following:
    • the title to, or any right or estate in, property
    • any encumbrance or assessment for a property
    • the zoning of real property
  • providing information under the Privacy Act, the Access to Information Act, or any similar provincial legislation
  • providing law enforcement or fire protection services to a government or a municipality or to a board, a commission, or another body established by a government or municipality
  • collecting garbage and recyclable materials, including the right to deposit refuse at a refuse disposal site
  • providing a home care service for an individual at their place of residence, whether the recipient is the individual or any other person

How the GST/HST applies to provincial and territorial governments

Each provincial and territorial government (including all of its departments, ministries, and some of its Crown corporations, boards, commissions, and agencies) is registered as one entity for GST/HST purposes. Transactions between these bodies are not subject to the GST/HST. To find out which bodies are included with each provincial and territorial government, call 1-800-959-5525.

A supplier must charge the GST/HST to employees of a provincial or territorial government who make official business purchases in their own name. However, when the purchase is made in the government’s name, the supplier may or may not have to charge the GST/HST to the government, depending on the province or territory.

Supplies made to a provincial government in the participating provinces or to the provincial government of British Columbia, Nunavut, or Quebec

A supplier must charge the GST/HST on taxable supplies of property and services it makes to the following governments (including all of its departments, ministries, and some of its Crown corporations, boards, commissions, and agencies):

These government entities may be eligible to apply for a rebate to recover the GST/HST paid or payable on eligible purchases. Form GST490, GST/HST Rebate Application for Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments can be mailed in or filed using a secure web form or My Business Account.

These government entities may also be eligible to apply for a rebate to recover the Quebec Sales Tax (QST) paid or payable on eligible purchases. For more information, see QST and GST/HST Rebates for Departments and Agencies of the Governments of Canada and Québec

Supplies made to a provincial government in a non-participating province or the territorial government of the Northwest Territories or Yukon

If an authorized official provides evidence that a provincial or territorial department or entity is purchasing the supplies, a supplier does not charge the GST/HST on taxable supplies of property and services made to the following governments (including all of their government departments, ministries, and some of their Crown corporations, boards, commissions, and agencies):

As evidence, the CRA will accept a certification clause signed by an authorized official of a provincial or territorial government entity. A certification clause is a statement in provincial or territorial purchase documents that certifies that a provincial or territorial government is purchasing the property or services with Crown funds. A supplier must keep the purchase documents with the certification clause in case the CRA asks to see them.

In cases where a supplier does not charge the GST/HST on taxable supplies of property and services made to a provincial government or territory, the supplier is still eligible to claim input tax credits paid or payable on purchases it made to make taxable supplies of property and services. For more information, go to Input tax credits.

In cases where a supplier does not charge the GST/HST on taxable supplies of property and services made to a provincial government or territory, the supplier is still eligible to claim input tax credits paid or payable on purchases it made to make taxable supplies of property and services. For more information, go to Input tax credits.

Supplies made by a provincial or territorial government

Provincial and territorial governments must charge the GST/HST on their taxable supplies of most property and services. However, a number of supplies provided by government entities are exempt.

Examples – Exempt supplies made by a government
  • registering a property or filing a document in a property registration system
  • filing or procuring a document in a court
  • charging for a licence, permit, quota or similar right (other than such a right supplied to import alcoholic beverages), and a service to apply for such a right
  • providing information about or a certificate or other document showing:
    • a person's vital statistics, residency, citizenship, or right to vote
    • a person's the registration to any service the government provides
    • any other status of a person
  • providing information or a certificate or other document about any of the following:
    • the title to, or any right or estate in, property
    • any encumbrance or assessment for a property
    • the zoning of real property
  • providing information under the Privacy Act, the Access to Information Act, or any similar provincial legislation
  • providing law enforcement or fire protection services to a government or a municipality or to a board, a commission, or another body established by a government or municipality
  • collecting garbage and recyclable materials, including the right to deposit refuse at a refuse disposal site
  • providing a home care service for an individual at their place of residence, whether the recipient is the individual or any other person

How the GST/HST applies to diplomats and foreign representatives

A supplier must charge the GST/HST on taxable supplies of goods and services it makes to:

A supplier must charge the GST/HST whether foreign representatives make purchases for themselves or their organizations. Foreign representatives are not exempt from paying the GST/HST and a supplier must collect the GST/HST from them, even if they have an identification card issued by Global Affairs Canada.

However, they may be eligible to apply for a GST/HST rebate if the supplier gives them acceptable documentation for their purchases. Foreign representatives can use Form GST498, GST/HST Rebate Application for Foreign Representatives, Diplomatic Missions, Consular Posts, International Organizations, or Visiting Forces Units, to apply for the rebate.

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