Medical and Assistive Devices

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Most medical and assistive devices are taxable. As a result, the GST and QST generally apply to medical and assistive devices intended for:

  • consumers
  • healthcare institutions (such as hospitals and clinics)
  • healthcare professionals (such as physicians, pharmacists and dentists)

However, they may be zero-rated if they are designed for human use or for assisting a person with a disability or impairment.

Some medical and assistive devices are zero-rated throughout the distribution chain regardless of who acquires them and can be imported into Canada or brought into Québec tax-free by anyone.

Cosmetic services and related supplies may be zero-rated if they are provided for medical or reconstructive purposes.

Devices sold under prescription

While some medical and assistive devices are zero-rated when sold under prescription, they are usually subject to GST and QST throughout the distribution chain. They are zero-rated only at the end of the chain, when they are sold for use by the consumer named in the prescription.

Example
Clothing that is specially designed for disabled persons is zero-rated only at the end of the distribution chain, when it is sold to a person who acquires it under a prescription.

Importing prescription devices

When devices sold under prescription are imported into Canada or brought into Québec, they are taxable. The person who imports them or brings them in must therefore pay GST and QST. However, if the devices are brought into Québec by a registrant in the course of their commercial activities and they give entitlement to an input tax refund (ITR), the person is not required to pay QST.

Tax paid in error

If you believe that you paid GST/HST or QST in error to a GST/HST- or QST-registrant supplier, you can ask the supplier to refund or credit the taxes to you instead of applying to us for a refund. If the supplier refunds or credits the tax, you cannot then apply to us for a refund of the same amounts.

However, if you are unable to obtain a refund or credit (for example, if the supplier refuses or ceases its activities), you can apply for a refund by filing a General GST/HST Rebate Application (form FP-189-V) or a General Application for a Québec Sales Tax (QST) Rebate (form VD-403-V)

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