The Strauss Blog

GST/HST and QST – Do You Know What to do for Québec Events and Members?

The purpose of this article is to summarize what a non-profit organization needs to know about Canada’s GST/HST as they apply to membership fees and events held in Québec. In Québec, Revenu Québec generally administers the GST/HST and they have special rules regarding the taxation of events.

Membership Fees/Dues

The rate of GST/HST is usually charged based on the province where a good or service is provided. This is not the case for membership fees/dues.

If your organization charges GST/HST on membership fees/dues, then a member must pay taxes based on his/her province of residence.

Québec Sales Tax (QST) applies to membership fees/dues when a member lives in Québec and your organization is registered to collect QST with Revenu Québec. If you are not registered with Revenu Québec, then membership fees/dues are subject to GST.

Events Held in Québec

If your organization charges GST/HST on registration fees for events such as conferences and professional development workshops, and you are going to be holding an event in Québec, then you must:

• Register with Revenu Québec (source: Act Respecting The Québec Sales Tax, Section 410: “If your organization charges GST/HST on registration fees for events such as conferences and professional development workshops, and you are going to be holding an event in Québec, then you must Register with Revenu Québec”)

• Collect 14.975% QST

• File a QST return with Revenu Québec (Detailed QST Calculation, form VDZ-471.CD-V)

This means that you must record the QST received and QST paid (QST Input Tax Credits).

If your organization does not regularly hold events in Québec, then you can make a Request for Cancellation or Variation of Registration (form LM-1-A-V) after the event has taken place. Cancelling your QST registration means that QST does not have to be applied to membership fees/due for members who live in Québec.

Registering with Revenu Québec

Your organization must register with Revenu Québec to obtain a Québec Enterprise Number (NEQ) before you begin accepting registration fees for an event. You can download a QST Application for Registration, form LM-1.V, at revenuquebec.ca/en/sepf/formulaires/lm/lm-1.aspx.

Revenu Québec’s call centre is very helpful; their telephone number is 800.567.4692. Unfortunately, all of their telephone system’s option prompts are in French; you can obtain service in English by choosing option one and then option nine.

You should send the completed form to Revenu Québec three-months before you expect to be accepting registration fees. The person who signs the form must be one of the directors listed at the online federal or provincial websites that provide information about corporations; I know this, because they rejected an application that I signed on behalf of a client.

Need More Information on GST/HST?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) publishes a guide, RC4081, GST/HST Information for Non-Profit. You can download a copy at cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gp/rc4081/rc4081-13e.pdf. Page 12 has a section on GST/HST as it relates to membership fees/dues.

CRA publishes a guide, RC4034 GST/HST Public Service Bodies’ Rebate (cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gp/rc4034/rc4034-13e.pdf), which explains on which registered charities and some non-profit organizations can receive a 50% rebate of the GST they pay.

Telephone Enquiries vs. Advance Rulings/Interpretations

You can call CRA if you have questions about GST/HST at 800.959.5525.

The people who answer questions, at the CRA call centre, do their very best to provide correct information; however, CRA is not responsible if your organization acts based on incorrect information received on the phone from them.

If your organization’s question is very technical/unusual, then you can request an advance ruling/interpretation (cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/txprfssnls/srvcs/menu-eng.html). There is no cost for this service and you should receive a reply within four weeks.

If you have any questions related to financial management or have suggestions for an upcoming article, then please feel free to email me at mhs@strauss.ca.

The above article is provided for informational purposes only. It constitutes general information relating to GST, HST, and QST. It does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advice and you may not rely on it as such.