Whether it’s for $5 or $500, gift cards make great little stocking stuffers and are the perfect gift for those hard-to-buy folks. By law, most gift cards for a monetary value are not allowed to have an expiry date. There are exceptions though, such as for a specific good like a haircut or for a mall card, where the card is good at more than one store. If you are planning on giving a gift card this year, keep reading to see more information and tips we have about gift cards!
Buying gift cards on classified sites
Many people are now selling gift cards on sites such as Craigslist at a discounted price. Although these deals sound awesome, always remember that if it sounds too good to be true it often is. An honest seller will likely go the extra mile to make sure you feel confident that you are purchasing a legitimate card. One way to check that the card is legitimate is by meeting the seller at the location where the card can be used. This way you can have a cashier check the value of the card and its authenticity before handing over your cash. Always use caution when making these types of transactions.
To find out more about gift card expiry dates and fees, visit our information page about gift cards.
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Do you pay tax provincial or federal on gift certificates – bought spa utopia card $300 for $200 at Costco and was charged tax is this correct
Good question TB. We looked up this tax question for you. Here is what we found (quoted:
Gift Certificates and Gift Cards
Gift certificates and gift cards are vouchers that can be exchanged for a specific value of goods and are treated the same way as cash.
Do not charge PST on the value of gift certificates or gift cards you sell to your customers.
When customers redeem gift certificates or gift cards, the value of the certificate or card should be applied to the total amount of the invoice – including taxes and any environmental levies.
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Can house cleaning certificates expire? I had 13 hrs of cleaning gifted to me for a baby shower gift at the end of dec 2012 and just found an expiry date of jun 1, 2013 on them!
Thanks for your question, Naddy. The answer is yes, gift cards for a specific service can expire. Cheers, Melaina
I have a cash card, can I return it to the same company and get cash back in full?
Hi John, It will be up to the store whether or not to provide a refund. My understanding is they typically do not give a cash refund for a gift card.
Hi Dave — thanks for coming to us. While sales tax fall outside of the laws we regulate, I’d suggest contacting the CRA for advice and information on next steps. Here’s a link to their Contact Us page: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cntct/menu-eng.html I hope you get this worked out!
I recently tried to buy a psn $50 gift card from Walmart which I’ve never been charged tax for before and aren’t taxed at the place I work, so I questioned it and a duty manger was called he then feed me a line about an email apparently telling the store to tax the cards. He offered to go it for me but he failed to find it and ultimately end up saying that he works for a corporation and the if he says the cards taxable it’s taxable
My accountant for our restaurant has told us the same thing. Charge the GST, but remember the customer who uses the card does not pay tax on that amount when they cash it. Unfortunately, now I’m not sure what to do. We have had several customers who were really angry about this issue.
Hi Marie, thank you for contacting us. I wonder if Small Business BC may have some resources on how other businesses are dealing with the similar situations. If you would like to contact them, their website is here – http://smallbusinessbc.ca/
Last year as part of a Black Friday special I stood in line and received promotion, first 25 people could by a 50$ gift card and get $150 gift certificate. It is at a spa, so expensive. To make that 200$ stretch I booked for 2 services, 2 pedicures 60$ each. Usually they are valued over 100$ each. The spa says I cannot use these for seat sales… is this ok?
Hi Shayla, thanks for your question. It’s my understanding that stores are allowed to set their own policies and limitations when it comes to using gift cards (especially those that are sold for a promotional purpose). This should have been explained to you either at the time of purchase or in the fine print on the receipt. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.