Sales to Indians

In most cases, you must collect GST and QST on sales made to Indians, Indian bands and band-empowered entities, and on sales of goods and services made on a reserve to non-Indians.

However, as a result of a tax exemption provided for under the Indian Act, the taxes are not charged where:

  • property is purchased on a reserve by an Indian, an Indian band or a band-empowered entity that is not a legal person, or delivered to a reserve by the vendor or the vendor's agent (and, in the case of a band-empowered entity that is a legal person, the property is intended for band management activities);
  • services are provided entirely on a reserve, to an Indian, in respect of property located on the reserve at that time;
  • services are provided entirely on a reserve to an Indian who is on the reserve at that time;
  • transportation services are provided to an Indian, for transportation beginning and ending on a reserve;
  • services are performed in whole or in part off a reserve for an Indian and concern a right to an immovable situated on a reserve;
  • services are acquired on or off a reserve by an Indian band or band-empowered entity for band management activities or for use with respect to real property situated on the reserve.

The exemption from the taxes cannot be granted unless the proper documents are submitted to the vendor.

Transportation services, short-term accommodation, and meals and entertainment are subject to GST and QST if acquired outside a reserve. However, a refund of the taxes may be claimed if the goods or services were acquired for band management activities or for use with respect to real property situated on the reserve.

Some vendors whose place of business is not located on a reserve do business primarily with Indians, Indian bands or band-empowered entities. In some cases, these vendors are in a remote location and their regular trading zone includes a reserve which is not in the immediate vicinity. In such cases, the requirement for the vendor to deliver the property to the reserve may be difficult to meet, either because of prohibitive costs or lack of transportation services. Where this is the case, vendors may, under certain conditions, make tax-exempt sales to Indians, Indian bands or band-empowered entities without delivering the property to the reserve.

ITCs and ITRs

You may claim input tax credits (ITCs) and input tax refunds (ITRs) in respect of purchases you make in the course of your commercial activities in order to sell goods or services to Indians, Indian bands or band-empowered entities. This is the case even if you are not required to collect GST or QST on the goods or services. We suggest that you keep separate entries in your books for sales made to Indians and sales on which you collected GST and QST.

Additional information

For more information, see the following:

  • the Status Cards In the System page of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) website, for information about the Certificate of Indian Status
  • GST/HST Notice 264, Sales Made to Indians and Documentary Evidence – Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document, and GST/HST Info Sheet GI-127, Documentary Evidence when Making Tax-Relieved Sales to Indians and Indian Bands over the Telephone, Internet and Other Electronic Means, both of which are available on the Government of Canada website, for information on the accepted forms of documentary evidence
  • GST/HST technical information bulletin B-039, Administrative Policy – Application of the GST/HST to Indians, for general information
  • GST/HST policy statement P-230, Application of the Excise Tax Act to Leases, Licenses and Similar Arrangements of Tangible Personal Property by Indians, Indian Bands and Band Empowered Entities, for information on the supply of tangible personal property by way of lease

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