CRA considers the HST questions of who has acquired a service or property, and who is the recipient of a supply, to be cognate

The definition in the ETA of the “recipient” of a supply refers to the person who, under the agreement for a supply, is liable to pay the consideration therefor. CRA indicated that it did not consider someone to be the recipient of a supply merely because that someone was contractually liable to pay the consideration for the supply.

In particular, an ATM provider (the Vendor) agreed that X’s acquisition of the Vendor’s ATMs would be financed by Vendor selling the ATMs to Lessor, with Lessor then leasing the ATMs to X. Lessor was not licensed the related software by Vendor but nonetheless agreed to pay the software licence fees of the Vendorr. CRA stated:

In determining who the recipient of a supply is, and who may therefore be entitled to an ITC for any tax payable on the supply, it is necessary to determine whether the supply is acquired by a person on its own behalf or as an agent on behalf of another person. The [recipient] definition refers to ‘consideration for the supply’. However, in the present case, the [Lessor] has not acquired any supply of software licences, and is therefore not entitled to claim any ITC for the tax paid for them.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of 28 April 2017 Interpretation 154249 under ETA s. 123(1) – recipient.