RST Guide 204
Published: October 2005
Content last reviewed: July 2010
ISBN: 0-7794-9362-1 (PDF), 0-7794-0881-0 (HTML)
On July 1, 2010 the federally administered Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) replaced the Ontario Retail Sales Tax (RST). As a result, RST provisions described on this page and in other publications ended on June 30, 2010. This includes any RST exemptions, temporary exemptions and certain rebates originally intended to end at a later date. Learn more about the HST.
Purchase Exemption Certificates (PECs) are to be completed by persons entitled to claim an exemption from RST on the purchase of taxable goods and taxable services or entering into a contract of insurance or a benefits plan. A 'valid purchase exemption certificate' means a single or blanket PEC that a person is authorized to use and that contains all the required information, under the Retail Sales Tax Act (Act).
These certificates are to be given to suppliers at the time of sale. Examples of items that can be purchased by persons who qualify for exemption include:
Note: Vendors are not entitled to claim an exemption on items used for their business or for their own use unless an exemption is provided for under the Act. PECs cannot be used by customers to claim an exemption from RST on real property contracts or on fixtures.
The following are examples of when goods and services can be purchased exempt from RST without having to complete a PEC:
Valid identity cards may be used by authorized persons entitled to claim an exemption from RST on the purchase of taxable goods and taxable services, or entering into a contract of insurance or a benefits plan.
Instead of a PEC, farmers may use a Farmer ID card, issued by a GFO, to claim an exemption from RST on eligible farm-related goods, services and insurance. The Farmer ID card shows the farmer's name and Farm Business Registration number. Farmer ID cards are currently issued by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, and the National Farmers Union. Farmers who do not hold a Farmer ID card, choose not to be members of a GFO, or fail to provide the supplier with a Farmer ID card may issue a valid PEC to the supplier. (See RST Guide 807 - Farmers).
The Office of Protocol, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada) (DFAIT) authorizes certain entities and persons to receive an exemption from RST on the purchase of taxable goods or taxable services. DFAIT issues multi-coloured identity cards to recognize foreign representatives and officials in Canada. Not all identity card holders are entitled to an RST exemption. The back of the identity card must indicate 'ON' for the card holder to qualify for an RST exemption in Ontario (See RST Guide 803 - Foreign States, Representatives and Officials).
Status Indians hold "Certificate of Indian Status" identity cards issued by the federal government under the Indian Act (Canada). These cards are numbered and contain the photograph, name, and Indian band or registry number of the card holder. To claim an exemption, Status Indians must show suppliers their federal 'Certificate of Indian Status' identity card. Indian bands and band councils must provide the supplier with a valid PEC (See RST Guide 808 - Status Indians, Indian Bands and Band Councils).
Persons who are legally blind can purchase audio books for their own use exempt from RST by showing their Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) membership card to the supplier at the time of purchase. Audio books in any form such as CDs or cassettes qualify, as long as the audio book is a spoken reading of a book. Friends and family members can also purchase audio books on behalf of a blind person by showing the blind person's CNIB membership card to the supplier. The exemption will be given to them provided they confirm they are buying the audio book for the use of a legally blind person (See Information Notice - Audio Books Purchased by Persons Who are Legally Blind).
Note: Persons are not entitled to claim an exemption on items used for their business or for their own use unless an exemption is provided for under the Act. PECs or identity cards may not be used by purchasers to claim an exemption from RST on real property contracts or on fixtures.
Supplies of PEC forms are not provided by the Ministry of Finance since it is not a prescribed form. Vendors or taxpayers who need more forms may use photocopies or reproductions of the sample Purchase Exemption Certificate form provided with this Guide.
Purchase Exemption Certificates may be used in the following ways:
A valid single purchase or multiple purchase (blanket) certificate must show:
Note: A blanket certificate is valid until revoked by the person or until cancelled by the Minister of Finance. A person who issues a blanket PEC can revoke it if any information was omitted or is not currently correct. The person may then issue a replacement PEC with the correct information. The Minister may cancel a PEC if the person who provided it is not entitled to use it.
Suppliers are required to charge RST on taxable goods, taxable services, or taxable contracts of insurance or benefits plan whenever persons do not provide a PEC or do not provide a valid identity card. If a Vendor Permit number is provided by a person who is not a 'G'-Permit holder or who does not already have a valid PEC on file with the supplier, RST must be charged.
A supplier who is a registered vendor may refund RST if the person buying the goods gives a valid PEC or a valid identity card to the supplier, after being charged the RST on goods purchased for resale.
Suppliers must maintain a record of all PECs provided by purchasers, and the name and number or other identifier on each identity card presented to support sales where no RST was charged. See the Ministry Tax Information Bulletin entitled, 'Retention/Destruction of Books and Records', or contact the nearest Ontario Ministry of Finance Tax Office to determine when these records can be destroyed.
If a person misuses a PEC or makes a false statement on a PEC, the person can, on conviction, be fined not less than $1,000 and an amount up to twice the RST owed, or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
Retail Sales Tax Act, Clauses 2(16.0.1)b and 48(3)(c), and Subsection 32(4)
Regulation 1012 under the Act, Section 6
Regulation 1013 under the Act, Section 3 and subsections 4(1) and 4(2)
The information contained in this publication is only a guideline. For more information, please contact the Ontario Ministry of Finance at 1 866 ONT-TAXS (1 866 668-8297) or visit our website at ontario.ca/finance.