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How to Register for GST and HST in Canada

If you operate a business in Canada, then you are required to collect and remit GST/HST on all taxable supplies that you make. This includes sales and rentals of commercial real property, taxable restaurant services, and hotel accommodation. Some goods and services are zero-rated and exempted from GST/HST. You do not have to charge your customers for these items, but you still need to record them in your books and report them to the CRA at filing time.

The Goods and Services Tax GST  is a 5% value added tax placed by the Canadian federal government on most goods and services purchased in Canada. It replaced a hidden 13.5% manufacturers’ sales tax MST that was put in place prior to the introduction of the GST.

In five provinces, including British Columbia, the federal gst in BC is combined with provincial sales taxes PST to form the Harmonized Sales Tax HST. British Columbia was the first province to adopt an HST, but voters decided in a referendum last year to reverse the reform and return to PST and GST.

If you are a business in the province of BC, then you must register for GST/HST once your taxable revenues before expenses exceed $30,000. Public service bodies and charities are also required to register if their annual total revenue from taxable supplies is less than $50,000.

Some businesses may be able to recover the GST they pay on inputs used for making taxable supplies, or on capital expenditures that are directly related to exempt activities. Generally, you will only be able to claim input tax credits and rebates when you are registered for GST/HST.

If your business makes taxable sales in the province of BC, you must charge GST/HST to all customers. This includes sales of new and used vehicles, and most other types of taxable goods and services. The GST/HST rate in BC is 5%, but you can apply a provincial sales tax rate of 10% to the price of your goods and services to reduce the amount of GST that you collect from your customers.

You must also record and remit the GST/HST you collect on a monthly basis to the CRA. This is done through an online system called e-Registry.

You can find more information on how to register for GST/HST, how to calculate GST/HST on your invoices, and how to report GST/HST to the CRA through your accounting software by reading these articles. The CRA website has more detailed information on the rules for GST/HST in each of the provinces and territories.

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