The June 30, 2011 deadline for the filing of the first round of GST/HST 494 returns is quickly approaching. Highlighted below are some of the things pension plan trustees, pension plan sponsors and administrators should keep in mind to assist them with their new HST compliance obligations.

  • Pension entities with members in an HST province and any other province will be considered “selected listed financial institutions” (SLFIs) for GST/HST purposes and will be subject to heightened compliance requirements under the draft SLFI regulations.  
  • Pension entities that qualify as SLFIs are required to use the calendar year as their fiscal year. As such, the fiscal year end for many pension entities for GST/HST purposes will be December 31.  
  • SLFI pension entities are required to file Form GST/HST 494, which is a final year end return, within six months of year end (i.e., June 30) whether they are registered for GST/HST or not. Certain pension entities will also be required to file a monthly return where certain elections are made or if they are non-registrants.  
  • Pension entities that were already registered in 2010 who were not using the calendar year as their fiscal year are required to file two separate GST/HST 494s if their 2010 fiscal year ends between July 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010 – one for the fiscal year including July 1, 2010 and one for the stub year ending December 31, 2010.  
  • Pension entities will be required to register if they make certain elections (i.e., the consolidated filing election, the reporting entity election or the tax adjustment transfer election). Non-registrants are required to file the GST/HST 494 return monthly, as opposed to annually if registered. Registration should therefore be considered as it should decrease a pension entity’s compliance burden.  
  • Retroactive registration can be done if it is discovered that a pension entity was required or wishes to register, but hasn’t, as long as it hasn’t filed any returns.  
  • Pension entities that qualify as “qualifying small investment plans” (QSIPs) are not required to register for GST/HST or file returns. A pension entity will qualify as a QSIP if it pays less than $10,000 in unrecoverable GST/HST per year on its expenses.  

It is important for pension entities to stay on top of their obligations if they are to mitigate the risk and exposure that non-compliance with these complex rules may pose.