BC Rockies Information Portal

The Land of Taxes

The Land of Taxes

hotel tax (8%): B.C. has a provincial hotel room tax of 8 per cent. Where approved, an additional 2 per cent tax is levied by local municipalities.

provincial sales tax (7%), liquor (10%): Sales tax on all purchases is 7%, except for liquor, which is 10 per cent. However, if a visitor purchases goods and ships them directly to their home location outside of B.C., no sales tax is charged. This excludes automobiles, aircraft and building materials.

goods & services tax (GST) (5%): The Federal GST of 5 per cent is an additional tax applicable to most goods and services purchased in Canada, regardless of whether the buyer is a resident of or visitor to Canada. The GST can be partially rebated to non-residents of Canada. The booklet, GST Refund for Visitors, is available at Canada Customs offices throughout the province, at border crossings, and at most hotels.

As a non-resident visitor, you can claim a refund for the GST paid on eligible goods and/or short term accommodation while visiting Canada, if the following conditions are met:

  • you are not a resident of Canada
  • you purchased eligible goods, short term accommodation or both
  • you paid GST on these purchases
  • you have original receipts
  • the total of your purchase amounts (before taxes) for eligible goods and accommodation must be at least CAN $200
  • each individual receipt for eligible goods shows a minimum total purchase amount (before taxes) of CAN $50 and
  • the goods are removed from Canada within 60 days of the purchase date

There are two ways to get receipts validated:

1. Participating Land Border Duty Free Shops: Staff will only validate purchase receipts for goods that qualify for a tax refund.

2. Participating Customs Border Services Offices: Canadian Customs officials will validate all the receipts that you give them. The customs stamp does not mean all your goods will be eligible for a refund. Please have the following available for duty free staff or custom officials:

  • the original receipts along with the goods
  • proof that you are a non-resident of Canada (photo identification) and
  • proof that you are leaving Canada

Visitors departing from Canada by plane, non-charter bus or train are required to submit their original boarding pass or tickets with their visitor tax refund application form. There is no requirement to have accommodation receipts validated, nor is it necessary for visitors to have goods examined or receipts validated if they do not wish to claim a refund.
(Courtesy of Valley Echo)

Visit the Canada Revenue Agency web site at: www.ccra.adrc.gc.ca/tax/nonresidents/visitors/tax-e.html.