Tax Refund for Visitors to Canada

Visitors to Canada are eligible for refund of taxes paid for certain goods and short-term accomodation. For complete information on the subject please refer to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) web site at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc4031/rc4031-e.html. Below are some major points of the refund policy.

There are two different taxes for which you can claim a refund, and their rates:

  • Goods and services tax (GST)/(TPS) - 7%
  • Harmonized sales tax (HST)/(TVH) - 15%

Please note that any provincial sales tax (PST) paid on goods or short-term accommodation is not refundable.

Do you qualify for a tax refund?

You qualify for a tax refund if you meet the following conditions:

  • you are not a resident of Canada at the time you apply for a refund;
  • you purchased eligible goods for personal use, eligible short-term accommodation, or both;
  • you paid GST/HST on these purchases;
  • you have original receipts (we do not accept photocopies, or debit or credit card slips);
  • you have proof of export for the eligible goods you purchased in Canada (there are different proof of export requirements depending on how you travel when leaving Canada)
  • for eligible goods, each receipt shows a minimum purchase amount (before taxes) of CAN$50;
  • for eligible goods and short-term accommodation, your total purchase amount (before taxes) is at least CAN$200; and
  • CRA receives your refund application within one year after the date the eligible goods were exported or the tax on the accommodation fees became payable.

What qualifies for the refund?

There is NO REFUND of the tax paid on such items as: entertainment; meals; alcohol; tobacco products; services such as dry cleaning and hairdressing; air, train, and bus tickets; car rentals; automotive fuels; rentals of travel trailers and other recreational vehicles; cruise ship cabins; train berths; or timeshare arrangements. This is not an all-inclusive list. In addition, any goods that you consume or leave in Canada do not qualify for this refund.

Eligible goods
You can claim a refund of the GST/HST paid on most goods you take home with you. Goods generally qualify for a refund if you meet the following conditions:

  • you paid GST/HST on the goods;
  • you bought the goods to use primarily outside Canada; and
  • you removed the goods from Canada within 60 days of delivery to you

Eligible short-term accommodation
You can also claim a refund of the GST/HST paid on short-term accommodation if the following conditions are met:

  • each accommodation unit was provided to you for less than one month of continuous occupancy; and
  • each receipt shows the number of nights of short-term accommodation in each unit of a lodging establishment made available to you.

The tax paid on camping accommodation and any charges for hook-ups, qualifies for a refund of GST/HST.