Published | Category : GST and QST

Admission to a Place of Amusement

Admission to a place of amusement is GST- and QST-exempt when sold by a government or public body for $1 or less.

For GST and QST purposes, the term “admission” means a right of entry or access to, or attendance at, a place of amusement, a seminar, an activity or an event.

Moreover, the term “place of amusement” refers to:

  • any premises or place, whether or not enclosed, at or in any part of which is staged or held:
    • a slide show, film, sound and light or similar presentation,
    • an artistic, literary, musical, theatrical or other exhibition or performance,
    • a circus, fair, menagerie, rodeo or similar event, or 
    • a race, game of chance, athletic contest or other contest or game;
  • a museum, historical site, zoo, wildlife or other park, or a place where bets are placed; and 
  • any place, structure, apparatus, machine or device whose purpose is to provide amusement or recreation.  

Regardless of how or how often it is usually used, a location can be considered a “place of amusement” when it is the site of an activity. For example, if a public institution has a gymnasium that it uses for physical education classes and, once a year, it uses the gymnasium to hold an arts and crafts fair, the gymnasium is considered a place of amusement during the fair.

Other types of admission may also be tax-exempt. Examples include:

  • admission to something other than a place of amusement (for example, to a conference) supplied by a charity;
  • admission to a fundraising activity (for example, a dinner) supplied by a public institution, provided part of the price paid constitutes a donation and the institution can issue a receipt for income tax purposes.

For more examples, click Admission.

Example 1

A non-profit organization in Trois-Rivières is holding free writing workshops for aspiring authors, with a bouncy castle onsite for the participants' children at a cost of $1 per child.

As a place, structure, apparatus, machine or device whose purpose is to provide amusement or recreation, the bouncy castle constitutes a place of amusement for tax purposes. Given that the price of admission does not exceed $1, the supply is GST- and QST-exempt.

Example 2

From May to October, a GST- and QST-registrant charity in Québec City provides afternoon tours of a local church with unique architecture. Tour admission costs $5.

A church does not fit the definition of a “place of amusement” for tax purposes. Therefore, admission to the tour is tax-exempt, since it is not admission to a place of amusement and it is supplied by a charity.

Example 3

The same charity also holds evening concerts in the church during the same period. Tickets cost $10.

Given that, during the concerts, the church constitutes an enclosed space in which a musical performance takes place, it is considered a place of amusement. Moreover, as the cost of admission is greater than $1 and no other exemptions apply, the GST and QST must be charged.

Example 4

A GST- and QST-registrant charity in Saguenay charges $10 for admission to its museum.

For tax purposes, a museum is a place of amusement. Therefore, as the cost of admission is greater than $1 and no other exemptions apply, the GST and QST must be charged.

Example 5

A GST- and QST-registrant charity in Sherbrooke is organizing a skating activity. Admission fees vary by age: $0.50 for children aged 2 to 5, $1 for children aged 6 to 12, and $2.50 for participants aged 13 or older.

As a place, structure, apparatus, machine or device whose purpose is to provide amusement or recreation, the skating rink constitutes a place of amusement for tax purposes. Even though admission fees are $1 or less in some cases, the fact that the fee for one age bracket exceeds $1 (and that no other exemptions apply) means that the GST and QST must be charged on all admission fees regardless of price.

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