We get this question a lot. Here’s some information on when you may or may not be asked to pay tax on a gift card.

Do I pay tax when I buy a $50 gift card?

No. If you bought a gift card for a specific dollar amount, you don’t pay tax on the gift card. The tax is charged when the card is used to buy a taxable item. For example, you would pay tax on a jacket you buy with a gift card.

Do I pay tax on a gift card for a specific good or service?

Yes. Usually, if you buy a gift card for a haircut, massage, or any other specific good/service, you pay the tax for that good or service at the time of purchase. So, if you buy your mom a gift card for a manicure, you will likely be charged the tax for that service when you buy the gift card.

Simply put, the tax will be charged at some point during the transaction, as businesses are required to charge it.

Who do I talk to if I have questions?

While we do oversee certain aspects about gift card laws (like expiry dates and what fees can be charged) we have no authority when it comes to taxes.

If you have questions about PST, contact the BC Ministry of Finance:

For questions about GST and HST, contact theCanada Revenue Agency:

  • Phone: 800.959.5525

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at dev.consumerprotectionbc.ca.