by Brendan M. Lynch | November 01, 2006

On Sept. 25, the Canadian government abolished the Goods and Services Tax Visitor’s Rebate Program, which will make doing business in that country costlier for U.S.-based meeting planners, exhibitors and attendees. The GST, a 6 percent tax, had formerly been returned to American attendees and U.S.-based planners for hotel stays, convention site costs, registration fees and supplies related to conventions in Canada.

As of April 1, 2007, the following will apply: Nonresidents no longer will be eligible for a GST rebate on accommodation costs; organizers of foreign conventions, where 75 percent of attendees and the sponsor are nonresidents, no longer will be eligible for the GST rebate for costs of the convention site or supplies; and nonresident attendees will be required to pay full GST on admission price to Canadian-organized conventions (however, if the convention is sponsored by a nonresident, the GST on admission will not apply to foreign attendees).

In addition, trade show exhibitors will be required to pay the GST for their floor space costs, unless the organizer supplying the space is a nonresident.

If a convention contract was signed prior to Sept. 25, 2006, the GST will be rebated for events occurring up to April 1, 2009, and nonresident attendees won’t be subject to the GST for admission costs.