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kayd Jul 6th, 2005 11:36 AM

Obtaining visitor tax refund from Canada
In reparing for my trip to Nova Scotia this month, I came across Revenue Canada's form GST176, Application for Visitor Tax Refund,
for international visitors to request refund of taxes they paid on lodging and goods purchased while in Canada.

The form does not mention the method of refund, so I am guessing that it would be a check in Canadian dollars--am I correct?

If that is the case, I guess I would prefer to use the Global Refund tax-back service (it has worked ok for me in Europe), as an unfavoravble exchange rate on my small refund (guessing $60-100 at most) would cost me less than my bank's fee for depositing a check in foreign currency.

Can anyone tell me of recent experience with a Canadian GST refund? thanks

Judy_in_Calgary Jul 6th, 2005 12:10 PM

The tax refund cheque (check) is issued in the claimant's home country's currency.

I'm not eligible for the refund, since I live in Canada, but I understand it takes about 6 weeks for the cheque to arrive in the mail.

Beware the refund claim forms that you'll find in the racks of brochures that advertise hotels, tours, etc. Those claim forms belong to private companies that submit the claim on your behalf and then skim an administration fee off the refund before remitting it to you.

If you use a form issued by the Canadian government, such as the one that I'm guessing you found on the Internet, there will be no processing fee and, as I said before, the refund will be issued in your home currency.

MikeT Jul 6th, 2005 12:25 PM

I've done this and had no problems. The hardest part was wading into the bowels of the Trudeau airport in Montreal to get my receipts stamped.

As Judy said, use the official, government form and not those you see everywhere that are run by companies who skim money off the top.

I got my check in US$ in about four weeks. It worked perfectly.

kayd Jul 6th, 2005 12:45 PM

Thanks, Judy and Mike. As long as the cheque is in US dollars, there's no need to pay for the services of Global Refund, so I'll take care of it directly with the Canadian government.

nkh Jul 6th, 2005 01:09 PM

Some things we learned from a recent guest's submission at Pearson International Airport last month

1. When submitting receipts be aware that each receipt must be over 50 dollars CDN (there can be several cheaper items on it, but the total must be more than 50).

2. There must be a business number (GST number?) on the receipt showing that the issuer is entitled to charge taxes, or it will not be accepted even if over 50 dollars.

3. Some items are also not claimable (not sure about all alcohol e.g. bottles of wine for example).

The actual process was not bad, but these three points excluded a fair number of the receipts she had collected!

kayd Jul 6th, 2005 01:52 PM

NKH, thanks for your tips too. I'm really only thinking of hotel bills, six nights at $125 or so, but will be sure to look for the tax-ID number on each receipt.

sockboy Jul 6th, 2005 01:54 PM

I could be wrong, but I don't think that hotel bills qualify as you "consumed" the service inside Canada. I think that the refund is only for items that you are taking out of the country.

kayd Jul 6th, 2005 02:06 PM

Nope, sockboy, "short term accommodation" is a category that's refundable for the Canadian GST, unlike in Europe where VAT refunds are available only for goods taken out of the country.

sockboy Jul 6th, 2005 02:14 PM

Well that is interesting, and good to know! Makes me think that it would be worthwile to claim for just about anyone then - I always thought it was a big waste of time!

dona Jul 6th, 2005 02:26 PM

Could you pls provide the url to get the Canadian gov't form online. Thanks

kayd Jul 6th, 2005 02:37 PM

This will get you the GST refund form in pdf file

nkh Jul 7th, 2005 10:53 AM

hi kayd

hotel bills were actually specifically asked for by the lady dealing with us - I think that you should have no problem with ID numbers for them if it is actually a hotel you are staying at (not bed and breakfast).

Have a great trip!

dona Jul 7th, 2005 12:27 PM

kayd, thanks for the url for the form! nkh, if we're staying at a B&B is it possible for the B&B to give us something so we can get the refund or does the refund work only for hotels?

sockboy Jul 7th, 2005 12:43 PM

If a business charges GST, then they have a GST #. If a B&B doen't charge you GST, then obviously you wouldn't get a rebate for it! If they do, just make sure that their GST# is on the receipt somewhere.

dona Jul 7th, 2005 12:51 PM

Got it--thanks, Sockboy

Graziella5b Jul 8th, 2005 01:39 AM

Hi, Ref Hotels tax returns. We are going shortly to Toronto and was wondering how to get the hotel tax return. Anybody has experience in this? Does the hotel provides customers with a form?

LindainOhio Jul 8th, 2005 06:54 AM

To get the visitors tax refund for your hotel, you just need your hotel receipt. We took the receipt(and any other receipt totalling over $50) to a desk at the airport to get stamped. We also picked up the form at the airport, but you want to make sure that you pick up the government refund form---there are others that take part of your refund for their service. There was not a redemption center at the airport. I mailed the form when I got home. There is a link on this thread for the form--I imagine it also has information for those who are not travelling by air. There must be other places to get your receipts stamped. In order to get the tax refund, the receipts must be stamped.

Maria_H Jul 8th, 2005 07:47 AM


"Canadian customs officials will not determine which of your goods are eligible for the visitor tax refund. Do not give them your short-term accommodation or tour package receipts since they do not have to be stamped."

I don't think the accommodation receipts need to be stamped to get the refund, only receipts for goods.

bettyo70 Jul 8th, 2005 09:40 AM

Ah...don't you just love paper and bureaucracy??

FYI: I live in NYC, and it took atleast THREE MONTHS to receive my global refund (showed up on my credit card statement).

LindainOhio Jul 8th, 2005 02:12 PM

Sorry for the error---you are right, lodging receipts do not have to be stamped.

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