- The information in this Guide explains how Retail Sales Tax (RST) applies to sales made at flea markets, craft and trade shows. Please note that this Guide replaces the previous version dated January 1997.
RST must be charged on all taxable goods and services, whether new or used, sold from your own residence or at flea markets, craft and trade shows, etc. The following are examples of taxable goods:
- adult size clothing
- antiques and curios
- appliances, furniture, household items
- games, toys and puzzles
- jewellery and engravings
- magazines musical instruments, records, compact discs, and tapes
- candies, snack foods, and confections
- computer hardware and software
- prepared food products sold from an eating establishment for a total charge over $4.00 (see RST Guide 300 - Prepared Foods for further information and Charging RST section of this Guide)
- soft drinks, except when sold with prepared food products for a total charge of $4.00 or less
- sports and recreation equipment such as bicycles
- stamps, coins and other collectors' items
- telephone equipment
- tools and machinery.
If RST is to be collected, a Vendor Permit must be obtained from any Ontario Ministry of Finance Tax Office. Those who operate a booth for 60 consecutive days or less will be issued a single event permit. If more than 60 days, a regular permit will be issued. If sales of taxable goods or taxable services such as repairing goods, etc., are made from a residence, a permit is also required. The type of permit to be issued is based on the information completed on the application.
Craft and Trade Shows
Craft shows, including auto, boat, home and sport shows, and exhibitions which are open to the general public are normally classified as consumer shows. As such, RST is to be charged on prices of admission over $4.00, excluding the federal goods and services tax (GST).
Trade shows, on the other hand, are not open to the general public. Registration fees are levied to qualify registrants as belonging to the particular trade or industry represented. RST does not apply to the charge to attend a trade show.
Booths, Exhibits and Stalls
If booths, exhibits, stalls, display systems, etc., are supplied and installed in Ontario, for various types of shows, RST applies to the total selling price including charges for the following items:
- design fees for a new booth, refurbishing a booth or a layout of a booth. The preparation of drawings, blueprints, etc., to convey ideas to customers is considered a non-taxable service if the drawings, etc., are not sold. RST is to be paid by the company supplying the service, on all materials and equipment purchased to provide the service. If the drawings are sold, RST is to be charged on the total selling price.
- contingency to cover cleaning materials, carpet tape, nails, hardware, wrapping materials, etc., when these items are to be used on-site when the booth is installed
- installer's local travelling time, such as mileage and meals
- labour to install and dismantle a booth
- transportation or delivery on the initial sale of a booth, when billed by the vendor.
In addition to the charges noted above under the heading SALES, RST is to be collected by the company supplying and installing a booth in Ontario on the following rentals:
- equipment without an operator
- furniture, plants, telephone equipment, audio visual equipment, carpet, electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, etc.
- panels, chairs, etc.
For RST purposes, the following charges are considered non-taxable services:
- air flights for installers to fly to show sites
- hotel accommodations
- installing and dismantling the booth outside Ontario
- janitorial services, such as vacuuming, picking up garbage, etc.
- labour to remove the booth from storage, check it over, load and unload from the delivery vehicle at the storage site and show site, labour to reload at the time of take-down, and labour to place the booth back in storage
- labour to run an electrical line, telephone line, and plumbing to a booth
- rental of equipment, eg., forklift, with an operator
- storage of the booth (either in Ontario or outside Ontario)
- transportation of the booth to shows in Ontario and/or back to the warehouse unless transportation applies to the initial sale of goods to customers
- transportation of the booth materials to shows outside Ontario.
RST is not to be collected from customers on the above charges provided the charges are separated from any taxable charges on the invoice. The billing for the above charges must be reasonable and must represent the actual cost to the customer. If the charges for these services are not separated from the charges made for the sale of taxable goods or the provision of taxable services, RST must be collected on the total invoice amount.
The provider of the above services must pay RST on the purchase of all taxable goods and services used to provide the non-taxable service, whether or not the non-taxable charges are separated on the invoice.
Charges made to customers for local travel expense, including meals, and cabs, are taxable if the expenses are incurred in the provision of a taxable service. RST does not apply where the charges to customers are for a recovery of expenses incurred in the provision of a non-taxable service. If hotel accommodation and air fare are incurred due to the location of the show, RST is not to be charged to customers provided these expenses are shown separately on the invoice.
RST is to be charged on taxable goods and services where the total transaction is 21 cents or more, excluding GST. RST applies to used goods as well as new ones.
Since the federal government allows vendors the option of using GST-included pricing when billing customers, RST does not apply unless the GST-included price for prepared foods is more than $4.28 ($4.00 + 7% GST).
As a vendor, goods that are to be resold can be purchased exempt from RST. When claiming an exemption, a properly completed Purchase Exemption Certificate must be given to suppliers. See RST Guide 204 - Purchase Exemption Certificates, for more information on the completion of this form.
- 1 866 ONT-TAXS (1 866 668-8297)
- 1 800 263-7776 for teletypewriter (TTY)
To obtain a written interpretation on a specific situation not addressed in this publication, please send your request in writing to:
Ministry of Finance
Advisory Services and Program Policy Branch
33 King Street West
Oshawa ON L1H 8H5
The information contained in this publication is provided only as a guideline and is not intended to replace the legislation.