Many businesses may be entitled to a refund of Ontario retails tax (ORST) paid in respect of goods and/or "taxable services" paid for before July 1, 2010 where the goods and/or "taxable services" are provided after July 1, 2010.
The best examples I can give are annual subscriptions/licenses of computer software and leases of goods (however, there are other situations). Please review your invoices to see if you paid an annual or other periodic amount of ORST before July 1, 2010 and set aside those invoices that relate, in part, to the period after July 1, 2010.
As a matter of law, it may be that the Canada Revenue Agency expects to receive harmonized sales tax (HST) for the portion o the supply that occurs after July 1, 2010. The HST transition rules may require an allocation between the pre-HST period and the post-HST period. It also may be that as a matter of law, you were required to pay ORST on the full invoice at the time it was paid and things changed. You may entitled to receive a refund of ORST paid pre-HST in respect of the post-HST period. I know that this may sound silly, but tax changes sometimes have silly effects/results.
I have reviewed the Canada Revenue Agency web-site for some guidance on this issue and have found nothing (so far). I have also reviewed the Ontario Ministry of Revenue web-site for some guidance on this issue and have found nothing (so far). It is for this reason that I am saying that the HST may be a source of confusion, like tax free savings accounts. It would be helpful for businesses to be told clearly what is expected of them.
I will give an example in order to clarify:
For example, some businesses and MUSH sector entities may an annual license for computer software in May 2010 and paid Ontario retail sales tax in addition to GST and the lump sum annual lease price. In this example, computer software was licensed for a year for $120,000 and GST would have been $6000 and ORST would have been $9600. However, the ORST portion would be in respect of software that could be used post HST and, therefore, the purchaser must pay HST is respect of the period after June 30, 2010. 10 of 12 months would be subject to HST instead of ORST. As a result, the purchaser would have to self-assess and remit HST on $100,000 = $8,000. The business would be entitled to a refund of ORST from the Ministry of Revenue in the amount of $8000.
The self-assessment would occur on the GST/HST return for the first reporting period after July 1, 2010. There is a line on the GST/HST return for self-assessed GST/HST.
The refund application would not be filed with the CRA, but, rather would be filed with the Ontario Ministry of Revenue. Here is the general refund application form - it is difficult to find on the Ontario Ministry of Revenue web-site.
This may sound silly - robbing Peter in order to pay Peter (and Paul). Some businesses for some purchases may pay both HST and ORST and will have to wait to get the ORST back. These same businesses have audit risk under both the ORST and HST tax regimes. The business has paid the correct amount of tax initially and then has a problem and can be assessed for failing to ensuring the tax was paid to the right person.
You will not be able to say that ultimately Ontario received its money because technically under the HST regime, the HST goes into a pot of money and that money is allocated according to formulas, which are not based on the place of supply. The formulas do not allow for a matching of HST to a particular province.
In a more perfect tax system, there would be a joint CRA and Ontario Ministry of Finance form that would allow a business to identify payments of ORST in the pre-HST period that cover the post-HST period. In a more perfect tax system, the governments would ask for a copy of the invoice and make the corrections for you. In a more perfect tax system the governments would waive interest and penalties when there is not intention to underpay sales taxes. It should be easy for businesses to comply with sales tax laws, but sometimes it is not simple or easy.