Published | Category : GST and QST

Music Programs

Supplies of music lessons to individuals are exempt from GST and QST.

For GST and QST purposes, we consider a music lesson to be an activity designed to develop or improve a skill in order to reach a specific goal. Thus, music lessons must include formal instruction to develop skills in music performance, such as singing, playing an instrument or conducting an orchestra, or in music composition.

However, music lessons do not include instruction to develop or improve skills in any of the following areas:

  • music recording
  • music history
  • music instruction techniques

Furthermore, activities that involve music are not necessarily considered music instruction services or music lessons. For example, activities that involve entertainment or music appreciation, or recreational activities that include music, such as ballroom dancing or aerobics, are not considered music lessons.

The following questions will help you determine whether or not an activity or program constitutes a music lesson:

  • Does the supplier provide instruction in clearly defined musical skills or concepts?
  • Is the program conducted in a structured and sequential manner with specific goals?
  • Do students first have to take an exam or be assessed so that the instructor can determine their appropriate level of instruction?
  • During or at the end of the program, does the instructor give feedback to the students regarding their progress? Or does the instructor assess their progress by having them take exams?
  • Has the instructor received music training? For example, does the instructor have a degree in music?
  • Does the instructor use a recognized method of music instruction?
  • Are the lessons designed to meet certain criteria that have been established by a governing body for a standardized assessment or certification by the body or by one of its authorized representatives?
  • Does the program involve non-musical elements? If so, what proportion of the schedule is devoted to music instruction? Can the other elements be connected to musical concepts or music instruction methods?
  • What is the program's principal goal? More specifically, is the program offered to teach musical skills or for some other purpose, such as recreation?
  • How is the program promoted?

If a supplier offers various music programs, some may be considered music lessons for GST and QST purposes and others may not. Each program must be considered separately.


A supplier offers a program for preschool-aged children and their parents. The program is promoted as a great way to spend time together and have fun. The program includes the following activities:

  • singing
  • musical games
  • dancing
  • storytelling
  • unorganized play

Although the program has certain musical elements, most of the schedule is devoted to other activities. In fact, the program's principal goal is to promote child development and enable children to socialize with other children.

Therefore, the program is not considered a music lesson for GST and QST purposes. Consequently, the supplier's customers must be charged GST and QST.

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