The export of commercial goods is widely accepted as desirable for every country’s balance of trade and Canada is no different in that regard. For that reason, the Excise Tax Act, which establishes GST/HST,contains various mechanisms to encourage the flow of commercial goods out of Canada if certain conditions are met. One such mechanism is the allowance of a complete tax rebate (refund) of GST/HST paid on goods purchased in Canada by a non-resident for the purpose of exporting the goods outside Canada for commercial purposes. Our Canadian tax lawyers are experts on the Excise Tax Act and can help non-resident businesses obtain all available rebates of GST/HST to which they are entitled.
Subsection 252(1) of the Excise Tax Act states that where a non-resident of Canada is the recipient of a taxable supply of tangible personal property and the property was acquired by the non-resident for commercial use primarily outside Canada, the non-resident may be entitled to a complete rebate of GST/HST paid by the non-resident if the non-resident exports the purchased property within 60 days of purchase. In English this means that a full rebate of GST/HST may be payable to a non-resident of Canada who purchases and pays GST/HST on physical (moveable) property in Canada and then exports that property to another country for use or sale in the course of the non-resident’s business operations. The entitlement to the tax rebate is subject to several conditions, which are as follows:
It is important to note that the definition of “consumer” in the Excise Tax Act specifically excludes individuals or businesses who acquire property for consumption, use or supply in the course of their commercial activities. Therefore, a non-resident business that acquires industrial equipment for use, say, in its non-Canadian factory, will not be considered to be a consumer of the exported good. This underscores the fact that the GST/HST rebate is aimed at property that is purchased and exported by the non-resident for commercial, and not personal, purposes. An individual who enters Canada to purchase and then export classic cars or golf clubs to the United States for their own personal use will not qualify for the tax rebate. If all of the above-noted conditions are met, the non-resident exporter is entitled to a rebate of GST/HST and the Minister of Revenue is required to pay a tax rebate to the non-resident exporter equal to the amount of GST/HST paid on the goods.
In order to ensure that the non-resident exporter obtains the full rebate of GST/HST to which they are entitled, it is imperative that sufficient documentary evidence is included with the application for the rebate. It goes without saying that the non-resident exporter must provide proof that they were the recipient of the good. In other words, proof of purchase documents(receipts, invoices or bills of sale) should clearly show that the party applying for the rebate was the party who purchased the goods and exported them from Canada. In addition, the proof of purchase documentation should clearly show the amount of GST/HST paid for each exported good. This documentation should not be handwritten and should contain the supplier’s GST/HST CRA business number. Lastly, the application for rebate of GST/HST must include evidence that the non-resident exporter exported the goods from Canada within 60 days of purchase. Practically speaking, proof that the goods were imported into another country subsequent to purchase should be satisfactory evidence that the goods were in fact exported from Canada.
As long as the Canadian dollar is relatively weak compared to foreign currencies, in particular the US dollar, entering Canada to purchase goods for export is a popular strategy for foreign businesses including motor vehicle dealers. However, strategies involving the physical export of goods often operate with slim margins and it is therefore imperative that all available advantages are obtained by foreign businesses to ensure profits are maximized. As long asthe listed conditions are satisfied, foreign businesses that purchase goods in Canada, and then export the goods for commercial use, are entitled to a full tax rebate of GST/HST paid on the goods. Our team of Canadian Tax lawyers can advise you on your proposed business structure and provide advice on all documentary evidence required in order to ensure that your business obtains a full tax rebate of GST/HST.
Nathaniel completed his Juris Doctor degree at Osgoode Hall Law School where he excelled in the areas of tax law and legal writing and research.He successfully completed all of the requirements of Osgoode’s Taxation Law Curricular Stream
Carson Pillar articled with us and then joined our tax law firm as an associate Canadian tax lawyer having been called to the Ontario bar in June 2016. Carson runs our Calgary tax office. Carson earned his Juris Doctor from Western University and graduated in 2015.
Ian Thomas joined our Toronto tax law firm as an articling student (student at law) in July 2016 and upon becoming a Canadian tax lawyer in June 2017 he becomes our latest tax associate. Ian earned his Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School and graduated in 2016.
Tigra Bailey has now joined our tax law firm as a summer tax law student and is expected to return as an Articling Student in 2017-2018. Tigra is completing her Juris Doctor at Queen’s University and her expected graduation date is in 2017.
Ildi has joined the law firm of Rotfleisch & Samulovitch PC in June, 2000 and brings over 25 years of legal secretarial experience to the firm. She started as a Legal Secretary and after obtaining Certificates from The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario
Jamin Chen joins our tax law firm as an articling student in September 2016 after earning his Juris Doctor from Allard Hall at the University of British Columbia.