Tax Information for IEEE Conferences Held in Canada
(Current as of 16 October 2019)
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax on most goods and services provided in Canada. The tax rate is 5%.
The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) replaces the provincial sales tax (PST) and GST in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador (13% rate), Nova Scotia (15% rate), New Brunswick (13% rate), Ontario (13% rate), and Prince Edward Island (14% rate).
Foreign convention: A conference or convention where at least 75% of participants are non-residents and the sponsor is a non-resident. IEEE is a non-resident sponsor. For detailed information, please see Info Sheet GI-029 on the Canada Revenue Agency Web site or contact the IEEE Tax Management department.
Canadian convention: A conference or convention where 25% or more of the participants are residents. For detailed information, please see Info Sheet GI-027 on the Canada Revenue Agency Web site or contact the IEEE Tax Management department.
- Conference registration fees, exhibit space rental, and sales of books, educational materials, and other goods are taxable for the GST/HST.
- If more than 25% of the conference attendees are expected to be Canadian residents, the conference must register for and collect the GST/HST. GST/HST paid by the conference, on convention arrangements and supplies, can be recovered as input credits when filing the GST returns.
- Canadian conventions are required to register for and collect the GST/HST. Contact the IEEE Tax Management department for assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Foreign conventions are not required to register for and collect the GST/HST.
- Sponsors and organizers of foreign conventions in Canada would be eligible for a rebate of GST in respect of a convention site or related convention supplies.
How to determine Canadian or Foreign Convention status:
To determine the number of Canadian attendees you can reasonably expect to attend the conference, use the percentage of Canadian residents: 1) who attended previous IEEE conferences in Canada; 2) who are usually invited to attend the conference; or 3) are listed as members of IEEE.
Canadian members account for less than 10% of total IEEE membership but the other factors must also be used to reasonably determine the percentage of attendance. You need to keep documents available in the conference records to support how you determined the percentage of Canadian and non-resident attendees in case of an audit by the Canada Revenue Agency. However, if your determination was reasonable and you discover after the conference that more than 25% of the attendees were Canadian residents, the GST/HST status of the conference will not change.
Admissions to conventions/conferences
Residents and non-residents are required to pay GST on the admission price to a Canadian convention.
- A sponsor of a foreign convention is not required to charge GST on any admission to the convention (whether the attendee is resident or non-resident).
- For Canadian conventions, resident exhibitors are required to pay GST with respect to a convention site or related convention supplies. Non-resident exhibitors are not charged the GST by the sponsor.
- In the case of foreign conventions, GST is not charged by the sponsor to a resident or non-resident exhibitor relating to a convention site or elated convention supplies.
How to get a tax rebate if not required to register for the GST/HST as a foreign convention
- If you are eligible for a rebate, a Canadian convention facility or hotel operator can directly credit you with an amount equal to the GST/HST payable on the convention facility, conference related goods and services, and hotel accommodations directly billed to the conference. This means that you do not have to pay GST/HST and file a rebate application after the conference. The tax credit is a voluntary option on the part of the Canadian convention facility or hotel operator and has to be negotiated between the two of you. Before giving you a credit equal to the tax payable, the Canadian supplier may ask you to certify in writing that your event qualifies for a tax rebate. Suppliers other than convention facility and hotel operators cannot credit the rebate. For goods and services purchased from other suppliers, you have to pay the tax and apply for a rebate if you are eligible for the rebate.
- Again, if you are eligible for a rebate, the Canada Revenue Agency will refund GST/HST, Quebec's taxe de vente du Quebec (TVQ) and Manitoba's provincial sales tax (PST) paid on conference related purchases. Rebates can be obtained by completing and mailing the rebate application form supported by copies of invoices showing the amount of tax paid, copies of the canceled checks for these payments and a conference agenda, itinerary, or program. Contact the IEEE Tax Management department for assistance.
Note – Do not file for the rebate using the legal name of The Institute of Electrical And Electronics Engineers, Inc. When you file for the rebate, use the name of the conference.