CRA states that backdated ETA s. 211 elections are accommodated only in “exceptional” circumstances

An important planning issue for a public service bodies (e.g., a charity or municipality) is whether to make an ETA s. 211 election which, for example, may permit it to generate additional input tax credits, but may also impose additional GST/HST costs on it or its customers.

In response to a suggestion that it was CRA policy that “if a public service body has been charging GST/HST on supplies of real property that would otherwise be exempt, and has been accounting for that tax and claiming input tax credits (ITCs) in its net tax calculations and remittances as if the s. 211 election had been filed on time, then the CRA will normally accept a late-filed section 211 election,” CRA stated:

[A] decision on whether to accept a backdated effective date for a section 211 election falls within the purview of the Domestic Compliance Programs Branch … [which] will only consider the backdating of a section 211 election in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to, situations where a PSB has obtained inaccurate written information from the CRA. The acceptance of a late-filed section 211 election will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of 28 February 2019 CBA Roundtable, Q.1 under ETA s. 211(1).