Revised Policy Statement Issued by the Canada Revenue Agency on GST/HST and Gift Certificates, Gift Cards

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) issued an updated Policy Statement 202 “Gift Certificates” in April 2012 specifically addressing the GST/HST implications related to the issuance and acceptance of gift cards. The revised policy reiterates the CRA’s view that the issuance of a gift card is not considered to be a supply for GST/HST purposes. Rather, the taxable supply occurs when a person acquires a supply and redeems the gift card against the purchase. However, in today’s ever changing retail environment, what constitutes a gift card has become more difficult to determine. The revised policy considers many of the newer options available in the market place with respect to gift cards, including, reloadable gift cards, online gift cards, and gift cards issued at a discount. All organizations that issue or redeem gift cards (or similar devices) in Canada should review the revised policy to ensure that their current treatment is in line with the CRA’s current policy with respect to gift cards.

Posted on May 21, 2012