How to Get a GST Number for Your BusinessBrian Jang ON September 8, 2018
If you have a business in Canada, you will almost definitely need a GST Number. It is mandatory for you to register for the Goods and Service Tax and Harmonized sales tax (GST/ HST), unless your business has been identified as a small supplier.
The definition of a small supplier, according to the Canada Revenue agency, is a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation with total taxable revenue of $30,000 or less annually, before expenses. Please note that the proceeds or provincial sales taxes from selling capital property and not included in this amount. Also note that this does not apply to all types of business. Some, like taxi drivers, must register for the GST regardless.
Even if you are not required to register, however, you will probably want to consider it, given that doing so allows you to reclaim the GST/ HST that you pay on business-related purchases, through GST/ HST Input Tax Credits. This is why it is a good reason to register for the GST immediately if you are starting a business. You will not be able to claim your expenses retroactively, so you will want to be registered right from the start so that you can claim any purchases made for your startup.
How Does the GST Work?
Upon the completion of your GST/ HST registration and once you have received your GST Number, you will charge the GST or GST + HST on any taxable goods and services that you provide to your customers. Whether you charge one or both taxes will depend on the location of your business, the nature of the goods and services being offered, and the destination of any goods that you might be shipping.
The taxes that you collect must then be remitted to the CRA either annually or quarterly by completing a GST/ HST return, at which time you will also be able to clam your Input Tax Credits as mentioned above. This effectively allows you to gain back the GST/ HST that you paid on your purchases and expenses.
How Do You Get a GST Number?
You will need to complete GST/ HST registration to obtain your GST Number. To do so, you will need to apply to the Canada Revenue Agency, and this can be done three different ways.
You are able to register online through Business Registration Online, also known as BRO. Registering in this manner has a few advantages, such as allowing you to register for other CRA program accounts at the same time. These include import- export taxes, payroll, and corporation income tax. Businesses in Ontario, Nova Scotia and BC can then transfer directly to their province’s business registry when done with the GST/ HST registration to complete any other necessary registrations.
You have the option to download the RC-1 Request for a business number here. Fill out this form and then mail it to the Canada Revenue agency.
If you prefer, you may also reach the Canada Revenue Agency by phone at 1-800-959-5525. In Quebec, please contact Revenue Quebec at 1-800-567-4692, as they are responsible for taxes in that province.
However you choose to register, once you are done with registration, you will be able to collect and remit the GST and/ or HST.
Using the GST/ HST Number
Once you are assigned your GST number, this is what you will be using in all of your correspondence with the Canada Revenue Agency It will also be present on all your invoices and receipts. Your GST Number will also be referred to simply as your Business Number.
For any further information regarding the GST/ HST, you may contact the Canada Revenue Agency directly, where they offer many pamphlets and guides, including ones specific to various types of business.
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