CRA publishes detailed GST/HST views on what is a university

The ETA defines a university to mean “a recognized degree-granting institution or an organization that operates a college affiliated with, or a research body of, such an institution”. CRA has published a new GST/HST Memorandum which, in addition to discussing various exemptions applicable to supplies made by a university, provides considerable elaboration on how CRA applies this definition. Points made include:

  • CRA takes guidance from any applicable provincial Degree Authority Act in considering whether the institution is a “recognized degree-granting institution.”
  • An organization is only considered to be operating a college affiliated with a university where there is a formal affiliation agreement that states that the parent organization (the university) agrees to grant degrees to graduates of the affiliated college in exchange for a certain amount of control over the academic standards of, and the courses offered by, the affiliated college.
  • A research organization is considered to be a research body “of” the university if it is owned and controlled by the university. The university is considered to “own” the assets for this purpose in various circumstances including if it is entitled to receive those assets on the winding-up of the body. The university is considered to control if it appoints a majority of the members of the governing body (even if such nominees come from other sectors such as the private sector or the federal government).

Neal Armstrong. Summaries of GST/HST Memorandum 20-3 “Universities” December 2019 under ETA s. 123(1) – university, Sched. V, Pt. III, s. 6, s. 7, s. 7.1 and s. 16.