Common GST / HST Questions asked this past week

Below are some common GST/HST questions ask by readers of this blog through either email, Facebook comments, Tweets, or search queries.  I wanted to share the question, and provide the answer to save readers some time.

Q: Can you charge HST without an HST number?

A: No.

Q: Collecting GST when not registered?

A: Don’t.

Q: When do I have to start charging GST?

A: When you register or when you earn more than $30.000.00, or $2500 in HST.

Q: Do I have to charge HST under $30 000?

A: Yes, if you’re registered.

Q: Can you charge HST without a HST number?

A: No.

Q: What is the GST $30000 threshold?

A: It is the threshold that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) states determines when you must register for the GST/HST.  Under $30,000 in taxable sales, registration for GST/HST is voluntary.  Once you hit $30,001, then it is required.

Q: Do I charge HST if I make less than 30000?

A: Earn, not make, and you don’t have to, but I strongly recommend it.

Q: What are the CRA invoice requirements?

Better worded as what are the invoice requirements if I am registered for the GST / HST?

A: To have your GST / HST number clearly displayed on the bottom of your invoices so people who pay you GST / HST know you are actually registered.

Q: How does GST or HST work?

A: Basically, if you sell or provide goods and services in Canada, you must charge customers the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) unless your business qualifies as an exception.

If your Canadian business fits one of the exceptions, it won’t have to charge, collect and remit GST/HST.
The two possible exceptions are:
1. You sell or provide a good or service that the CRA has classified at being “zero-rated” or “exempt”
2. You are a small supplier

Zero-rated goods and services, such as exports, medical devices or basic groceries, are charged 0% HST. Exempt goods and services, such as golf or music lessons, child care, etc., are exempted from GST/HST, so they are not subjected to the tax.

A small supplier is one who has total taxable revenues before expenses from all your businesses of less than $30,000 or less in the last four consecutive calendar quarters and in any single calendar quarter.

Q: Any industries or professions have to apply for GST / HST right away?

A: Yes. Taxi and limousine operators and non-resident performers have to charge GST/HST even if they are small suppliers.

Q: Do I want to register for GST / HST even though I’m considered a small supplier?

A: Yes

Q: How do I register for GST/HST?
CRA makes registration easy for Canadian’s. You can register by phone (call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-5525), online, by mail or even in person at a tax office.
(Note that if your business is in Quebec, you need to contact Revenu Quebec instead at 1-800-567-4692 as they deal with GST/HST in that province.)

If your small business starts out as a small supplier and you make more than the small supplier limit ($30,000) you’ll want to register for GST/HST right away; in the eyes of the Canada Revenue Agency, you are now a GST registrant and you:
1) have to collect GST/HST on the supply that made your revenue go over $30,000;

2) have to register within 29 days of the day that you made the supply that made your revenue go over $30,000.

What causes problems for small businesses is they don’t realize they’ve gone over the limit until some time later when they’re doing the books and then discover they didn’t charge the GST/HST when they should have.  Small suppliers must watch their revenue carefully.

Q: What is a BN?

A: When you register, your business will be assigned a business number (BN); this is the number that you and the CRA will use to identify your business. (You’ll be using it on all your invoices, in your accounting system, and in all your tax-related correspondence with the CRA.)

Q: Do I need to charge the GST/HST?

(Answers the question whether or not you need to charge GST/HST on your sales of goods or services.)

A: Sales of zero-rated or exempt goods and the small supplier exception are discussed later.

Q: Shipping Out of Province: Should You Charge GST/HST?

A: Yes.  Depends on the province you are shipping to.  They pay the applicable rate in their province.

Q: What’s the difference between zero-rated and exempt goods and services?

A: These are two special classes of goods and services that the customer does not pay GST/HST on but in the case of zero-rated goods you, the provider of goods or services, can still claim input tax credits.

Hope this helps!

If anyone has any questions, concerns or comments about the GST/HST and need additional assistance, please contact us at info@intaxicating.ca

 

 

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Government Waste Awards give Lifetime Achievement to former Toronto Mayor David Miller

The 13th Annual “Teddy” Government Waste Awards Winners were announced by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) last week.

The CTF is a citizen advocacy group dedicated to less waste, lower taxes and responsible government spending of our hard earned dollars.

These awards confirm what I had been saying all along, that a left-wing mayor in the City of Toronto was going to cause an increase in taxes and result in less money in the pockets of Torontonions, as David Miller was given the lifetime achievement award.

Please, read on.

The “Teddy” award is named after Ted Weatherill, a former federal bureaucrat who was fired for outrageous expenses in 1999 (I’ve included his expenses below). Each year the CTF holds the ceremony to recognize a government, public office holder, civil servant, department or agency that most exemplifies government waste.

The winners:

Federal Teddy Winner:
G8/G20 costs: $1.24 billion spent to host leaders from the other G8/G20 nations to ironically discuss how to trim government over-spending.

Provincial Teddy Winner:
Ontario tax collectors paid severance for keeping jobs: Approximately $56-million in severance for changing their business cards from ‘Ontario PST collector’ to ‘Federal HST’ collector.”
These guys moved across the street from 5150 Yonge Street to 5001 Yonge street and were topped up to make up for the fact that the Feds pay less than the province.

Municipal Teddy Winner:
Edmonton City Council for wasting $5,000.00 on a haiku contest. Citizens were asked to write poems (or haikus) about riding the bus, despite already having paid $5,000 to have one written.

Lifetime Achievement Teddy:
David Miller

“And the Lifetime Achievement Teddy goes to…former Toronto Mayor, David Miller, for a career of reckless taxing-and-spending. As Mayor, Miller grew the city’s operating budget by 44 per cent, $2.8 billion, increased the city’s debt by more than $1 billion and increased property taxes every year well beyond the rate of inflation. He fought for and got new taxing powers which he used to impose a host of new taxes, including a: plastic bag tax, garbage tax, car tax, billboard tax, and land transfer tax.”

Concluding the ceremony CTF federal director, Kevin Gaudet remarked, “over the years David Miller has provided so much material for the Teddies we will see if future municipal nominations will suffer with his departure.”

Other nominees included:
Federal – Space Agency/Agriculture Canada: $400,000 for failed “Canadian Content” astronaut food program.

Federal – Border Services Agency Employee: Bureaucrat spends five hours/day at work surfing porn and is not fired.

Federal – National Defence: $515,000 for not conducting security checks on NORAD facility builders.

Federal – Public Works: $550 million for maintenance including $1,000 for removing one light switch.

Federal – Senator Lavigne: $30,000 for expenses – while suspended from the Senate.

Provincial – ON E-Health: $224M for consultant abuse including charges to consult on consulting charges.

Provincial – ON Parks: $400K for Niagara Parks Exec expenses including roller coasters.

Provincial – NS Premier Dexter: $10,600 to expense full membership fees to the bar association, then reducing status to “not practicing” when forced to pay himself.

Provincial – MB Health: $38,000 to build “rooftop oasis” for health bureaucrats while patients down the road fundraise for theirs.

Municipal – Summerside, PEI: $1.3 million for fraudulent Michael Jackson tribute concert.

Municipal – Regina, SK: $5,000 for bizarre sponsorships including $450 for a ‘pickleball tournament.’

Municipal -Richmond, BC: $59 million for city purchase of land for five-times real value to be “as fair as possible.”

Municipal – Toronto, ON: Public transit boss caught expensing $2,400 for taxis.

http://taxpayer.com/node/13985

Now, back to the name of these awards… The “Teddys”, named after Ted Weatherill who was the Chair of the Canada Labour Relations Board since 1989. Between 1995 and 1996, Mr. Weatherill charged at least $21000 to taxpayers for business travel he incurred as President of the National Academy of Arbitrators, an Alabama-based private organization.

“Mr. Weatherill concedes that he could have sent the expenses to the National Academy of Arbitrators…but Mr. Weatherill believed his participation in the NAA’s conferences that year to be a wise investment for the Canada Labour Relations Board. So, he chose to bill his expenses to the Canadian government instead.”
The Ottawa Citizen, 7 April 1997

There’s more than just travel, though. The following is a “taste” of the meals Mr. Weatherill has billed to the Canadian taxpayer over the past eight years:

Breakfast: Relais Christine, Paris $25.00
Meal (for 2): RPG Arpege, Paris $733.43
Dinner: Le Cercle Universitaire d’Ottawa $1 084.40
Room Service (one night): Chateau Frontenac, Québec City $95.27
Meal: Royal Windsor Hotel, Brussels $531.50
Mr. Weatherill billed the federal government on average $18,500 a year in meal costs alone, for a grand total of $148,000 over the first eight years of his ten year term. He has billed the federal government more that $200 for a meal on 107 different occasions since he was hired.

Many of Mr. Weatherill’s lunches have included alcoholic beverages. Treasury Board guidelines state that “reasonable expenses means the specific, itemized expenses incurred, based on receipts, excluding alcohol.”