Canada: GST/HST – What Does It Mean For Charities?

Last Updated: March 20 2017
Article by Ross Pasceri

There are currently over 85 thousand registered charities in Canada. Every year, millions of people contribute both money and time to these charities, yet how Canada's Goods and Service Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) rules may impact these charities is often overlooked. The GST/HST rules that apply to charities can be significantly different from those for businesses. This article speaks to the fundamental GST/HST rules that are applicable specifically to charities.

What constitutes a "charity" for GST/HST purposes?

A charity for GST/HST purposes is a registered charity or a registered Canadian amateur athletic association, but does not include a public institution (that is, a registered charity that is a school authority, a public college, a university, a hospital authority, or a local authority determined to be a municipality).

To become a registered charity, an organization must apply to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and be approved for registration as a charity. To qualify for registration, an organization must meet the following criteria:

  1. The organization must be established and operated for charitable purposes (charitable purposes include the relief from poverty, the advancement of education, the advancement of religion, and certain other purposes that benefit the community);
  2. The organization must devote its resources (funds, personnel, and property) to charitable activities; and
  3. The organization must be resident in Canada.

Are properties and services provided by a charity subject to GST/HST?

While most supplies of property and services that are made by a charity are exempt from GST/HST, some are taxable. A charity that is registered for GST/HST is required to collect and account for the GST/HST on its taxable supplies. A charity that is not required to register for GST/HST is not required to collect the GST/HST on its taxable supplies.

Taxable supplies are supplies of property and/or services made in the course of a commercial activity in Canada. Taxable supplies made by charities may include the sale of new goods that the charity bought, manufactured, or produced to resell, or may even include admissions to a place of amusement such as a museum, recreational complex, or theatre. A detailed review of all supplies provided by a charity should be conducted in order to appropriately determine if any of the supplies provided constitute taxable supplies.

When is a charity required to register for GST/HST?

Generally, a charity is only required to register for GST/HST purposes if it provides taxable supplies, and it meets the following two tests: it has greater than $250,000 of gross revenue (includes business income, donations, grants, gifts, investment income, etc.) in a fiscal year, and greater than $50,000 of taxable supplies in the charity's last four calendar quarters.

Normally, a charity that is registered for GST/HST must calculate its net GST/HST tax by using the "net tax calculation for charities". A charity that uses the net tax calculation for charities method must remit 60% of the GST/HST it collects on most of its taxable supplies, and it must not claim ITCs for the GST/HST paid on most purchases. The net tax calculation for charities simplifies the way charities calculate their net GST/HST tax as it generally removes the need for charities to allocate their purchases and expenses in relation to their taxable supplies and exempt supplies.

If a charity is already registered for GST/HST purposes, and subsequently determines that it is not required to be registered, the charity can ask to have its registration revoked by submitting a request to the CRA.

How does a charity recover the GST/HST paid on its expenses?

Businesses must pay GST/HST on its business purchases and expenses. The GST/HST paid by businesses can generally be recovered by claiming an input tax credit (ITC). Similarly, charities must also pay GST/HST on its purchases and expenses, however, a charity that is registered for GST/HST, is limited in the ITCs that it can claim because of the net tax calculation for charities that it must use. Charities registered for GST/HST can claim ITCs only on certain items, such as the GST/HST paid or payable on purchases of, or improvements to, capital property that is used primarily in its commercial activities.

Where ITCs are not available, which may be the case when a charity is not required to be registered for GST/HST, or when a charity incurs expenses that relate to exempt supplies, charities can recover a portion of the GST/HST that has been paid on their eligible purchases and expenses by claiming a public service bodies' (PSB) rebate.

The PSB rebate allows charities to recover 50% of the federal portion of the GST/HST paid on eligible purchases and expenses, and a percentage of the provincial portion if the charity is resident in a participating province (provincial rates vary by province). The Ontario PSB rebate rate is currently set at 82%.

Charities that are GST/HST registrants are required to file their PSB rebate applications with the same frequency as they file their GST/HST returns (monthly, quarterly or annually). In contrast, charities that are not GST/HST registrants can file two PSB rebate applications per fiscal year. A non-registrant has up to four years from the last day of the claim period to file a PSB rebate application.

As this article provides only a brief summary of some of the key GST/HST rules applicable to charities, it is important for charities to be aware of any GST/HST obligations and benefits available to them.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Ross Pasceri
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Collins Barrow National Incorporated
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Collins Barrow National Incorporated
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions