Setting Canadian tax exemptions

You can set exemptions for your customers to prevent them from being charged specific taxes. For example, you can set exemptions for First Nations status holders or resellers based in particular provinces.

Types of exemptions

You can apply the following tax exemptions to your customers in Shopify. Exemptions are available for those provinces where you are registered for taxes. If you haven't yet registered, then refer to Setting up Canadian taxes.

Table listing Canadian tax exemptions
First Nations status exemptionApplies to First Nations peoples of Canada that hold a valid Certificate of Indian Status (HST, PST, RST, and QST). This exemption applies to the provincial portion of taxes for both individuals and organizations. Exemptions exist in all provinces, so you should check with your provincial tax agency for more details.
Diplomat exemptionApplies to Canadian diplomats in Manitoba (GST, RST) and Nova Scotia (HST). Exemptions differ from province to province, so you should check with your provincial tax agency for more details.
Reseller exemptionApplies to customers that purchase goods for resale or lease in British Columbia (PST), Manitoba (RST), and Saskatchewan (PST).
Commercial fishery exemptionApplies to customers that purchase goods for use in commercial fishing in British Columbia (PST), Manitoba (RST), Nova Scotia (HST), Prince Edward Island (HST), and Saskatchewan (PST).
Production machinery exemptionApplies to customers that purchase production machinery in British Columbia (PST) and Saskatchewan (PST).
Contractor exemptionApplies to contractors in British Columbia (PST) and Saskatchewan (PST).
Subcontractor exemptionApplies to subcontractors in British Columbia (PST) and Saskatchewan (PST).
Purchase exemptionApplies to vehicle purchases in Ontario (RST).
Farmer exemptionApplies to purchases of farming equipment in Manitoba (RST), Nova Scotia (HST), and Saskatchewan (PST).

Customers that are eligible for exemption from taxes will have a certificate or other form of documentation proving their status. When a customer contacts you to indicate that they have a tax exemption, you can ask them for a copy of this documentation. If you're not sure if your customer is eligible, then you should request documentation and check with the appropriate tax authority.

Set a tax exemption

To learn more about available tax exemptions, refer to Types of exemptions.

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Customers and select a customer.
  2. Click Manage in the TAX SETTINGS section.
  3. Select the tax exemption that you'd like to set for your customer.

It's important to note that verifying that your customers are eligible for these exemptions is your responsibility. It's not possible to verify this using the Shopify admin.

Tax exemptions on POS

Any tax exemptions you've set up are applied when using the Shopify POS app, though they're displayed differently depending on the device you use.

  • On Android devices, the subtotal is updated to reflect the new tax amount as soon as you select a tax-exempt customer.
  • On iOS devices, the subtotal remains the same until you tap the Charge button. After you tap the button, a prompt indicating the new price is displayed.
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