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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1099 Reporting: Explained so a Canadian could understand it.

I often get asked about 1099 reporting in emails and comments and most of it comes from Canadians looking to figure out what gets reporting on which IRS Form 1099 and why there are so many. 

Hopefully this will shed some light on the number of forms and what they report.  I think we all kow why they are in use, right?  When a business entity or individual receives any kind of income, the IRS usually wants to know about it.  Funny how that works, eh?

Besides who received the income, the IRS also wants to know the amount of income, the entity that made the payment, and the purpose.

I feel it is important to understand that there are also other types of IRS forms that are used to report income or payments, such as employee compensation which is generally reported on a Form W2.  

Below is a list of individual 1099 Forms for specific payment reporting; 
• 1099-A – Reports Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property
• 1099-B  – Reports Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions
• 1099-C  – Reports Cancellation of Debt
• 1099-CAP – Reports Changes in Corporate Control and Capital Structure
• 1099-DIV  – Reports Dividends and Distributions
• 1099-G  – Reports Certain Government Payments
• 1099-H  – Reports Health Coverage Tax Credit Advance Payments
• 1099-INT – Reports Interest Income
• 1099-LTC – Reports Long-Term Care and Accelerate Death Benefits
• 1099-MISC  – Reports Miscellaneous Income *
• 1099-OID – Reports Original Issue Discount
• 1099-PATR – Reports Taxable Distributions Received From Cooperatives
• 1099-Q  – Reports Payments From Qualified Education Programs
• 1099-R  – Reports Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, and Retirement
• 1099-S – Reports Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions
• 1099-SA – Reports Distributions From an HAS, or Medicare Advantage MSA

Second most popular questions: Is there a minimum reporting threshold?  Answer: The minimum dollar amount that must be reported varies depending on specific types of payments. 

*Many different types of payments are also reported on Form 1099-MISC.  The requirements for reporting payments on 1099-MISC can be complicated and the IRS Instructions for 1099-MISC IRS http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1099msc.pdf should be consulted.

Third most popular questions: Who gets a copy?  Answer: When a 1099 is issued, one copy is retained by the payee for their records, one copy is send to the recipient of the payments, and a copy is sent to the IRS for reporting.
Is there an electronic filing requirement?  Any filers who have over 250 or more to report are required to file with the IRS electronically.

What is the deadline?  The reporting deadline to the IRS is February 28th, however, if the filer is reporting electronically, the deadline is March 31st.

In most cases the payment recipient should receive their copy of the 1099 by January 31st.

There are some exceptions to the recipient due date. Form 1099-B, 1099-S, and payments reported on 1099-MISC for proceeds paid by attorneys and certain payments reported by brokers have until February 15th for the payment recipient copy.

Individuals that receive payment as reported on a 1099 are generally required to report those payments on Form 1040 as income. Business entities may have to report payments as part of their income.

Hope this helped!

Mailing to Supressed Holders – CRA and MRQ.

Have you ever wondered if you are required by law to mail out a tax slip to an individual / entity even though in doing so you know it will be returned by the post office marked as “undeliverable”.

These Q&A’s below may help you get a cleared picture of your legal requirements;

Q1: Is there a requirement to mail tax forms to suppressed holders?

A1: Yes. There is no statutory exception to this requirement. The forms specifically mentioned included; the T5, T5008, T4, T4PS, T4RSP, T4RIF, RSPR, T3, NR4, T5013 and T101.

Q2: Will the government excuse you from mailing to suppressed holders if the issuer/client advises you not to mail them / their clients?

A2: No, the obligation to mail is yours, because you make the payment (e.g. dividend or interest). In fact, if there were a penalty charged for failing to provide a tax slip, it would be on you, not the entity or person advising you.

The Income Tax Act does not specifically say “you must mail to suppressed holders”.  Rather, it states that if you make a payment, you have to send out a tax form.   The Income Tax Act does not make a distinction between suppressed holders and other holders. (Note, even though we do not actually “make a payment” – in that we do not send out a cheque to a suppressed holder – the analysis is the same.)

Q3: Is the requirement to mail absolute regardless of the dollar amount, or is there a dollar amount threshold? For example, don’t have to mail unless the aggregate amount paid to a holder is greater than $50.00.

A3: There is a $50 threshold for T5 reporting (that is, the CRA does not require that a T5 be prepared if the amount of the payment was less than $50).  For the other tax forms, there is no threshold.

Q4: What about prior tax years?  Do we have to mail these prior years’ tax forms if requested?

A4: There is nothing in the Income Tax Act which would alleviate the responsibility to provide prior year forms and failing to provide one may result in a complaint and subsequent audit.

Q5: What is the situation with respect to suppressed holders under the Quebec income tax regime, the MRQ?

A5: Similar to the Federal Income Tax Act, under the Quebec income tax regime (a) there is a requirement to mail the tax forms and (b) you are not excused from mailing if the issuer/client advises you not to mail.

Bottom line… Mail!