MCA Weighs in on Ontario Merchants not honoring Native Exemptions of 8% of HST – Akwesasne – September 17, 2010

Cornwall ON – It seems that some vendors in Ontario are not giving the HST exemption to our nearby native neighbors.


AKWESASNE MOHAWK TERRITORY — It has been brought to the attention of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne that some businesses are failing to honor the intergovernmental agreement that calls for the continuation of the point-of-sale tax exemption for First Nations in Ontario. The MCA is addressing this issue with the Government of Ontario, with information provided by Akwesasne consumers on vendors that are not removing the 8 percent provincial portion of the 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax.

“We were pleased that the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada had announced an agreement that recognizes the Aboriginal Right of First Nation people to be tax exempt,” stated MCA Grand Chief Mike Mitchell. He added, “Consistent with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Federal Finance Minister has acknowledged and recognizes Ontario’s desire to continue the point-of-sale provincial tax exemption for Status Indians. Unfortunately, the instruction to all Ontario vendors to begin providing an immediate rebate on September 1st has been slow in reaching the marketplace.”

On June 17, 2010, the federal and provincial finance ministers, as well as Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, announced that an agreement was reached to provide a point-of-sale rebate for First Nation consumers under the Harmonized Sales Tax, which came into effect on July 1st. It was the result of a collaborative effort with First Nation representatives to fulfill Ontario’s commitment to maintain the provincial exemption for Status Indians that has been in place for the last 30 years.

Under the intergovernmental agreement, effective September 1, 2010, Ontario vendors were instructed to begin providing a point-of sale rebate for the provincial component of the HST for eligible off-reserve purchases upon presentation of a valid Certificate of Indian Status Card. This was to leave the federal component of 5 percent being applied to First Nation purchases, with eligible purchases being the same as the previous exemption under the Ontario retail sales tax.

For the months of July and August, First Nation consumers were asked to submit original receipts and a copy of their Indian Status Card for reimbursement of the 8 percent provincial portion of the HST. The two-month delay for an immediate rebate to be provided on First Nation purchases was to enable Ontario vendors and governments to make the necessary changes to their systems to accommodate the point-of-sale exemption starting on September 1st.

During the past several weeks, Akwesasne community members have notified the MCA that some Ontario businesses are not providing the point-of-sale tax exemption upon showing their Status Cards. The MCA is seeking to have Ontario vendors honor the agreement reached between the federal and provincial government that recognizes and maintains the provincial tax exemption at the point-of-sale.

Akwesasne consumers that have not been provided with a point-of-sale rebate for the provincial portion of the HST on their purchases since September 1st are asked to contact the Mohawk Government Office at (613) 575-2348 (ext. 2250). Individuals should be prepared to provide the name of the Ontario business, as well as information that they may have been told by the vendor in being denied the point-of-sale tax exemption.

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