Application of the GST/HST to the Practice of Acupuncture


Please read an updated version of the application that was published on April 2017 on the Government of Canada website. There have been some updates made to the application and you should be aware of how it affects your practice in your province. 

Application of the GST/HST to the Practice of Acupuncture


Historically, various health care services rendered by a health care practitioner listed in Part II of Schedule V have been exempt from the GST/HST. Acupuncturists were not among the listed practitioners in the Act and, as a result, acupuncture services rendered by an acupuncturist were subject to the GST/HST.

However, the list of health care practitioners has been expanded in section 1 of Part II of Schedule V to include acupuncturists. Therefore, when certain conditions are met, the GST/HST exemption in section 7 of Part II of Schedule V will apply to acupuncture services rendered to an individual by an acupuncturist.

The changes to the exemption apply to supplies of acupuncture services made by an acupuncturist after February 11, 2014 (Government of Canada, 2017).

GST/HST exemption for acupuncture services

In certain circumstances, a supply of an acupuncture service is exempt from the GST/HST pursuant to section 7 of Part II of Schedule V. For the exemption to apply, all of the following conditions must be met:

  1. the service is an acupuncture service for GST/HST purposes;
  2. the acupuncture service is rendered to an individual by a practitioner of acupuncture services (for example, a Registered Acupuncturist or Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner);
  3. the acupuncture service is a qualifying health care supply as defined in section 1 of Part II of Schedule V; and
  4. the acupuncture service is not a cosmetic service supply or a supply, in respect of a cosmetic service supply, that is not made for medical or reconstructive purposes pursuant to section 1.1 of Part II of Schedule V.

First condition – supply of an acupuncture service

To be exempt from the GST/HST pursuant to section 7 of Part II of Schedule V, the service supplied by an acupuncturist must be an acupuncture service and must fall within the scope of practice for an acupuncturist.

An acupuncture service is a service that involves the stimulation of specific pressure points on the skin, mucous membranes or subcutaneous tissues of the human body and other therapeutic techniques to promote, maintain, or restore health, to prevent a disorder or disease or to alleviate pain.

Acupuncture is provincially regulated and what constitutes an acupuncture service for GST/HST purposes may vary from province to province. An acupuncturist must refer to the governing body or relevant provincial legislation for the province in which they practise to determine whether the services they perform are acupuncture services. An acupuncturist who practises in an unregulated province or territory must refer to the scope of practice established by the governing body or provincial legislation in the regulated province for which the acupuncturist has equivalent qualifications. For more information, refer to the section “Equivalent qualifications.”


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