Priceline Hotel: Priceline and GST/HST refunds from Canada

By lindisfarne,

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On the Priceline website it says:

"Since non-resident visitors to Canada are exempt from goods and services

tax (GST) and harmonized sales tax (HST), priceline does not charge its

customers these taxes. Hence, priceline's non-resident visitors are not

eligible for a tax rebate on hotel rooms purchased through priceline. "

I am sceptical about this ... how can Priceline know if it's a Canadian bidding or not?? Canadians can get American credit cards. Priceline may say it "does not charge its customers these taxes" but I'll bet the price paid for the hotel includes the taxes (in other words, Priceline is playing with semantics: it may not "charge" these taxes; it simply "increases the Priceline fee to reflect what it pays for the taxes" . I suspect Priceline simply doesn't want to process the paperwork related to getting the GST back.

Has anyone who bought their hotel through Priceline had any luck getting the hotel to process paperwork for the GST/HST refund?

When you factor in the value of the potential refund, the price paid per room is not quite the good deal that it may seem!

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What this means is that in BC, for example, you get charged the 10% hotel tax and Priceline's variable service charge fee, but you do not get charged the 7.5% GST by Priceline. The hotel doesn't charge you either.

I think that's an excellent deal, particularly for Canadians who would otherwise have to pay the GST.

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I've stayed at various properties booked through Priceline and I can say 100% for sure that all the hotels I've stayed at DO NOT charge Priceline the GST (which is 7%) across Canada.

By the way, please don't be like a Priceline customer that I saw last year when she insisted the hotel to issue her a receipt showing full amount and the taxes so that she can claim a GST refund. She made quite a big fuss in the lobby and complained that the hotel is treating her worse by not issuing her a receipt because she booked through Priceline.

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  • 1 month later...


I'm curious: if Priceline isn't charged the GST, is this a way that Canadians (with US credit cards) can avoid paying GST? I'm somewhat skeptical that Priceline doesn't pay GST; my speculation is that they pay it but don't want the hassle of issuing the paper work necessary for hotel guests to claim the refund.

I'm not sure how the GST refund works but I wonder if Priceline can claim the refund for itself? I would think that a US corporation could claim the refund for its employees who stay in a Canadian hotel, so it doesn't seem too far of a stretch to think Priceline could do the same.


A quick google search after posting revealed the answer: Priceline can claim the GST refund itself. Priceline claims that it does not assess GST to bidders, but it's impossible to verify their claim as they don't provide any kind of breakdown of prices. (It seems that this is a way Canadians could easily get around paying GST, if they have a US credit card with a US mailing address).

Tax Refund for Non-Resident Travel Organizers and Foreign Conventions

Includes forms GST177 and GST386

RC4160(E) Rev. 03

Tax refund for travel service providers

Claiming the refund

As a non-registered non-resident travel service provider, use Form GST177, Refund Application for Non-Resident Travel Organizers, to claim your refund. This form is included in the middle of this booklet. Enter the total amount of your refund claim in Part C, "Refund claim."

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I've stayed at more than 15 Canadian hotels booked through and I can for sure tell you that none charges Priceline the GST. I talked to several managers about this and they said that's one reason they don't really like dealing with Priceline reservations because it's a pain for their accounting dept. to deal with not charging GST for these cheap rooms.

Also, Yes, Canadians who use through Priceline don't pay GST unless you identify yourself to the hotel as a Canadian and the hotel clerks specifically ask you to at check out.

I really don't understand that fascination that other users on this board have regarding that Priceline is ripping them off the 7% ....

Sorry for being so blunt.

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I deal with GST quite a bit in my work as a bookkeeper here in Canada, and if the hotels don't charge Priceline GST, that would be a first. The only ones exempt from paying GST are government agencies.

I would bet money that Priceline is charged GST, but claims it back the same way that any American purchasing goods or services in Canada can.

The only way the we Canadians are not paying GST on Priceline rooms is because the government has not yet figured out this loophole.

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Back when the taxes were charged separately from the fees, it was very clear that Canadian hotels did not charge GST for Priceline rooms, because you could see the exact amount. It's a little less clear now, but the same still holds.

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What about GST via Hotwire? Is it included in the tax shown on my receipt? Hotel (Sheraton Wall Ctr) in Vancouver is $123 and taxes and fees are $24.95. That's 20%, but I know Hotwire is taking their cut, I just don't know how much, or how to sort it out.

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Hotwire charges the GST, but it will NOT provide you with a valid receipt which would enable a non-resident of Canada to claim a GST refund. When I raised this issue, it has argued that it doesn't charge any tax, only a "tax recovery charge". What a bunch of garbage. They are frustrating people from claiming refunds to which they are entitled by law. The reason they will not provide a receipt is that, they do not want to divulge to people what Hotwire actually paid for the room.

As for Priceline, I would have to disagree that any hotel in Canada does not charge Priceline the GST. It's against the law to do so. The hotel MUST charge the GST up front without exceptions. Several years ago, following a priceline stay, I received a reciept from a hotel on checkout on which the rate, GST and PST were broken down. Last week, I stayed at the same hotel, and this time, there was no breakdown of charges. The receipt was blank except it showed a deposit of $118.37CAD and after my name it showed "Priceline.com and its address in Norwalk, CT. My bid was $80USD and in total it came to $92.87USD "tax & fees". In sum, there is no way that a Canadian hotel does not remit GST on a priceline stay. Whether and how PL actually passes it on to the consumer is another issue, but the hotel definitely charges GST and remits it to the Canadian Government.

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  • 3 years later...
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