Supplies of health care services
Under the Excise Tax Act (the Act), exemptions from the GST/HST for supplies of medical and certain other health care services are generally limited to those made by suppliers who are engaged in the practice of a particular profession and who are licensed or certified under the laws of a province to practise the particular profession. These suppliers are defined in the Act.
For instance, a supply of a consultative, treatment, diagnostic or other health care service rendered to an individual is exempt for GST/HST purposes when a medical practitioner makes the supply. A medical practitioner is defined as a person who is licensed under the laws of a province to practice the profession of medicine or dentistry
In addition, a supply of an optometric, chiropractic, physiotherapy, chiropodic, podiatric, osteopathic, audiological, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, or psychological service rendered to an individual is exempt when a practitioner supplies the service. A practitioner is defined in the Act as a person who practises the profession relevant to one of these services and who is licensed or otherwise certified to practise that profession (if required in the province where the service is supplied) or has the qualifications equivalent to those necessary to be so licensed or certified in another province (if not required in the province where the service is supplied). Please note that it is possible for a corporation to qualify as a medical practitioner or practitioner.
Health care services supplied by corporations that are not medical practitioners or practitioners. The exemptions for supplies of the above-noted health care services do not apply to persons who do not qualify as medical practitioners or practitioners. Thus, the tax status of a health care service can vary depending on the supplier.
Corporations may supply health care services through their employees or through independent contractors they engage to perform services on their behalf. However, corporations who do not meet the definition of medical practitioner or practitioner should be aware that their supplies may not fall within the exemptions in the Act. Although an employee or subcontractor engaged by a corporation may hold a licence to practise a particular health care profession, this licence does not confer any benefit on the corporation for purposes of the Act. A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, directors, subcontractors and employees. The tax status of a corporation’s supplies is evaluated separately from the activities of its owners, directors, subcontractors and employees.
Corporations and independent contractors
In the health care field, corporations established to provide health care services to individuals often subcontract with independent contractors to provide these services. Because the GST/HST is a multistage tax, each transaction is a supply. This means that when a corporation enters into a contract to obtain the services of an independent contractor, the result is that the contractor has made a supply to the corporation, not to the individual. The provision of the health care service to the individual is made by the corporation.
It is important to note that if the independent contractor’s supply to the corporation is exempt, this exemption does not flow through to the corporation’s supply. The tax status of the corporation’s supply to its client is determined independently of the contractor’s supply to the corporation because for purposes of the GST/HST, the corporation’s supply to its client is a distinct supply from the independent contractor’s supply to the corporation.
Due to the general nature of the bulletin, it should not be relied upon as legal or tax advice.