Sales to Status Indians

Status Indians, with a Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, are exempt from HST where they purchase or lease a vehicle and take delivery of the vehicle on a Reserve. It does not matter whether they live on the Reserve. So, vehicles sold or leased to a Status Indian and delivered to the Status Indian on a Reserve are exempt from the full 13% HST.

Delivery off Reserve

Sales or leases to Status Indians with delivery off Reserve will be exempt at the point of sale from the 8% provincial portion of HST, meaning that dealers should charge only 5% GST if the Status Indian takes delivery off-Reserve.

The same rules as in Question 1 apply. Parts sold and delivered to a Status Indian on Reserve are fully exempt from HST.

Parts sold to a Status Indian will be exempt from the 8% provincial portion of HST and subject only to 5% GST.

Repairs performed for a Status Indian at a dealership are subject only to 5% GST.

The Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada issues a Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document to individuals who have been newly registered as Status Indians. The document confirms that the individual named on the document is registered as a Status Indian under the Indian Act.

A sample can be viewed here.

The document must be on Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada letterhead with a red Canada logo and include a raised seal of the Indian Registrar at the bottom right. The document is not valid after the expiry date shown.

Dealers should only accept an original document from the individual…. not a photocopy. Dealers should make a copy of the document and the photo ID and keep them on file.

Other non-government cards, such as “Métis” cards, “First Nations” cards, or “Aboriginal Nation” cards do not entitle the cardholder to any tax exemption.

If audited, you may be asked for documentation as evidence that the Status Indian took delivery on a Reserve. The UCDA recommends that you:

  1. Purchase something such as gas on a Reserve and get a dated receipt, showing the date and address
  2. Take a photo of the vehicle beside a recognizable landmark on the Reserve, such as a store, the band office or Reserve sign
  3. Log the distance driven between the dealership and the Reserve address

If you need help finding a Reserve, call the UCDA for assistance.

This often arises because the transaction involves financing or credit and the Status Indian has to have a co-signor (often his or her spouse who may not be a Status Indian) sign the contract and finance documents. If a Status Indian is a co-purchaser or co-lessee on the contract, the transaction might be exempt from HST (as long as all the other rules are followed).

It doesn’t matter whether the co-signer’s name is shown on the registration or not, but it is not enough to simply include the Status Indian as a co-signer on a bill of sale or lease. There needs to be evidence that the Status Indian is jointly and severally liable for payment with the non-Status Indian buyer.

What does “jointly and severally” liable for payment mean? This might be easier to prove on a financed deal with co-signors (where both are responsible for the loan or lease) than it will be on a cash sale. CRA have not offered much guidance here, but it might help to show that both parties are actually paying for the vehicle in addition to both signing the contract as purchasers.

Yes, these rules apply to any type of vehicle, equipment or machinery sold to a Status Indian.