Program Aims to Simplify Canadian Tax Refunds for Tourists

SEATTLE -- Corporate VAT Management here launched a Canada-wide program to help tourists receive refunds more easily from the Canadian Goods and Services Tax, or GST, and Provincial Sales Tax.

The firm's GST Simple Refund Services division handles the sometimes confusing paperwork necessary for tourists to claim the GST, which when combined with provincial taxes can account for up to 15% on hotel and merchandise expenses, the company said. "It's perceived as being a hassle, so what we're saying is, 'Stuff all your receipts in an envelope and we'll take care of it,' " Mark Kotzer, director of marketing for Corporate VAT Management, said.

Travelers must fill out an application form, available at the Vancouver (British Columbia) International Airport, tourist information centers or various hotels throughout western Canada, and mail it to the company along with an envelope containing original receipts. After mailing the registration package, which requires a signature granting the company power of attorney, clients can expect to be reimbursed in U.S. or other select currencies in six to eight weeks, minus a 15% charge from GST Simple Refund Services.

The company, which conducted a successful pilot program in Whistler, British Columbia, earlier this year, said it is exploring the distribution of the registration packages to agencies and travel-related businesses in eastern Canada.

Travel-related service providers interested in distributing the packages can contact GST Simple Refund Services at (206) 292-0300.

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