How to Do Tax Returns in Canada

Based on some of the conditions, Canada has made exemptions from taxes that are usually charged from Canadians. This article analyzes the ways in which one can do tax returns in Canada.

Criteria to Qualify for Tax Returns

Visitors to Canada, who have paid Goods and Services Tax/ Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/ HST) during their visit to Canada may qualify for a refund of some of this tax. Taxes are refunded on the following scenarios:

• If a person is a non-resident doing business or representative of a business who came to Canada for business purposes, then he might have already paid for the goods and services tax or harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) on short-term accommodation.

• If a person is a non-resident who exported goods from Canada for commercial purposes, and paid GST/HST on those goods. This comes under general application for GST/HST rebates.

• If a person is a non-resident and the sole owner of a business (i.e. if individual and the business are the same person) who buys eligible goods for personal use and eligible short-term accommodation while he/she is travelling on business in Canada.

• Each receipt for eligible goods must indicates total purchase amount of at least CAN $200 before taxes.

• The refund application must be presented within one year after the date that the tax on the accommodation fees became payable or the eligible goods were exported.

Goods Eligible for Tax Returns

Under this category, the refund can be claimed on the GST /HST paid on most goods that are purchased and if the goods are being primarily used outside Canada and they are being moved away within 60 days of delivery.

Short-Term Accommodation Eligible for Tax Returns

Under short term accommodation, tax can be refunded for the GST/HST paid, based on the following conditions:

• Each accommodation unit which was provided for less than one month of continuous occupancy, and

• Each receipt that is presented indicates the number of nights of accommodation in each unit of a lodging establishment.

How to Get Tax Refund

The Government of Canada offers two ways to get your refund with no processing fee:

■ By completing and sending the form included in the brochure to the address shown on the back of the form.
■ By visiting one of the participating duty-free shops at land border crossings to get a cash refund for eligible claims that do not exceed CAN$500.

Processing Times for Tax Refunds

The time taken to process the income tax returns depends on the method used to claim a refund. For Paper returns, it usually take four to six weeks to process. Electronic (NETFILE or EFILE) returns can take more time than eight business days to process.

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