By Joan Bruce
If your church has received a business number and is registered as a charity with Canada Revenue Agency, then your church is also a charity for GST/HST purposes. This means that your church is able to claim a rebate of 50 percent of the GST and/or the federal part of the HST paid or payable. Depending on the particular province in which your church is resident, you may also claim a portion of the provincial part of the HST paid.
In general, churches are not GST/HST registrants, that is they do not charge or remit GST, and for the purposes of this article, the information is for non-registrants. As a non-registrant you will be assigned a GST/HST account number when you file your first rebate claim. This number will be your CRA business number followed by RT and a four-digit number to identify your account.
If you have never claimed this rebate, you can file your first rebate application using form GST33, Application for GST/HST Public Service Bodies’ Rebate and GST Self-Government Refund. If applicable, you will also include form RC7066, Provincial Schedule-GST/HST Public Service Bodies’ Rebate. Click the following linked text for a guide and both forms—GST66 and RC7066—which are available online at cra-arc.gc.ca. Once you have filed the first rebate request, CRA will start sending you a pre-printed personalized rebate application form for future claims.
Your church can claim a percentage of the amount of the GST/HST paid on expenses used in your organization’s activities. The following is a chart of the rebate amounts, both federal and provincial.
You will not send any documentation in with the rebate request forms, but are required to keep adequate records, including original invoices, for six years from the end of the particular claim year in case CRA would ask to see them.
The claim period is determined by the organization’s fiscal year and can be filed twice during that year. A rebate claim will be filed to cover the first six months and a second claim will be filed to cover the last six months of the fiscal year.
If your church is in Quebec, Revenue Quebec administers GST/HST and you must use its forms to file your returns. IN-203-V, General Information Concerning the QST and the GST/HST or Revenue Quebec.