The Entrepreneur’s Guide to GST/HST Returns

In Canada, GST/HST is paid on a majority of goods and services sold in Canada. If you’re starting a new business, it’s usually a good idea to register for a GST/HST account as soon as your company is formed. In general, if your business’s total revenues (excluding sales of capital property and goodwill) exceed $30,000 in a single calendar quarter or within the previous four consecutive quarters, you must charge and remit GST/HST.

If you are a small supplier, meaning your revenues do not surpass $30,000, you do not need to register for a GST/HST account, but you may still choose to do so. Collecting GST/HST as a small supplier allows you to claim input tax credits (ITCs) to recover GST/HST paid on expenses related to your commercial activities. If you only provide exempt supplies, however, you cannot register for a GST/HST account.

How often you need to report

When you register for a GST/HST account, you are assigned a reporting period based on your total annual revenue made on taxable and zero-rated (supplies taxed at 0%) supplies. Here is a breakdown of common assigned periods, however you can elect to file more frequently.

Total Annual Revenues (from taxable supplies) Assigned Reporting Period
$1,500,000 or less Annual
Between $1,500,000 and $6,000,000 Quarterly
Over $6,000,000 Monthly
Charities Annual
Listed financial institutions Annual

Filing and payment deadlines

To file your GST/HST return, you must complete Form GST34 along with any applicable schedules. If you last filed your GST/HST return online, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will mail you an electronic filing information sheet, otherwise they will mail you a personalized return with your due date at the top. Your assigned reporting periods determine the due date of your returns and payments, as seen below.

Assigned Reporting Period Filing Deadline Payment Deadline
Monthly One month after the end of the reporting period One month after the end of the reporting period
Quarterly One month after the end of the reporting period One month after the end of the reporting period
Annually (those with a December 31 fiscal year-end and business income for income tax purposes) June 15 April 30
Annually (except those with a December 31 fiscal year-end) Three months after fiscal year-end Three months after fiscal year-end

Methods of payment

You can remit GST/HST electronically, by mail, or at your financial institution in Canada. If you are making payments of $50,000 or more, they cannot be sent by mail.

Special rules on installment payments

If you file annually but your net tax for the fiscal year is $3,000 or more, you may have to make quarterly installment payments throughout the following fiscal year. These installment payments are due within one month after the end of each of your fiscal quarters. To pay these installments, complete Form RC160 Remittance Voucher – Interim Payments.