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CRA GST Filing: What You Need to Know

GST Number and Registration

Most businesses are required to register for GST/HST if their sales exceed $30,000 in any four consecutive calendar quarters. If your sales do not exceed $30,000 in any four consecutive calendar quarters, you are not required to register for GST/HST.

You may wish to voluntarily register for GST/HST at any time. This may be relevant if you are incurring substantial costs, say as a homebuilder, and you want to recover the GST/HST that your company is paying for its supplies. You can only recover the GST/HST your company has paid if your company was registered for GST/HST on the date the GST was paid. The CRA will generally backdate your GST/HST registration by 30 days.

GST/HST Requirements & Payment Dates

  • GST/HST registrants are required to charge and remit GST/HST on all taxable sales, regardless of their income levels.
  • GST/HST registrants are required to include their GST/HST number on all their invoices.
  • As a GST/HST registrant you will be required to file GST monthly, quarterly, or annually depending on the annual revenues in your business:

Annual taxable sales threshold amounts

Required reporting period

Optional reporting periods

$1,500,000 or less

Annual

Monthly, Quarterly

More than $1,500,000 up to $6,000,000

Quarterly

Monthly

More than $6,000,000

Monthly

Nil

  • A company may elect to file GST/HST more frequently than required, for example, to gain access to its GST/HST refunds (ITCs) more quickly than the mandated filing frequency.

Calculating GST (in general)

In Alberta, calculating your sales tax obligation is relatively simple because Alberta has no provincial sales tax component (PST/HST), unlike most other provinces. To calculate GST, follow these steps:

  • Determine if the product or service you are selling is taxable.
  • Apply the relevant rate to those sales to calculate the GST collected.
  • Determine the amount of GST you paid—Input Tax Credits (ITCs).
  • The GST payable is generally the GST collected minus the Input Tax Credits, although some adjustments may be available.

GST Filing Using the Quick Method

You may be eligible to elect to file GST using the ‘quick method’ if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have been in business for a full year.
  • You have not revoked a previous quick method election.
  • The revenues from your associated group of companies don’t exceed $400,000 in any four consecutive fiscal quarters.
  • You are not a business that is exempt from using the quick method.

Calculating GST Using the Quick Method

The major reason for using the quick method is that it’s easy to calculate your remittance. You still charge GST on your sales, but you only remit a portion to the CRA, determined by your remittance rate.

The remittance rate estimates the approximate amount of your ITCs, so you do not have to make this calculation and claim the ITCs on your remittance.

GST Filing Deadlines

  • Annual filers are required to file and pay their GST three months after their fiscal year end.
  • Quarterly filers are required to file and pay their GST one month after the quarter end of the GST period.
  • Monthly filers are required to file and pay their GST one month after the month end of the GST period.

You may have to make quarterly instalments if you are an annual filer with $3,000 or more of GST payable for the year for all of your branches or divisions that file separate returns.

GST Remittances, Penalties, & Interest

There are a number of ways to remit GST, including through My Business Account, through your online banking, or via mail.

There are also a number of GST penalties and interest for failure to file, or failure to provide accurate information.

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