Register for a GST/HST account

Video series: GST/HST Information for a New Small Business

Segment 3: Who needs a GST/HST account?

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The following explains who needs to register and what you need to do to register:

Do you have to register?

You have to register for a GST/HST account if:

  • you provide taxable property and services in Canada in the course of your commercial activity; and
  • you no longer qualify as a small supplier.

You also have to register for a GST/HST account if you are a taxi or limousine operator whose fares are regulated by federal or provincial laws.

Exception

You are not required to register for the GST/HST if your only commercial activity is the sale of real property other than in the course of a business.

Special rules also apply for charities and public institutions and public service bodies that are not charities.

Even if you are not required to register, it might be beneficial for you, as you may be able to claim some input tax credits on the GST/HST paid and payable on your business purchases and expenses.

If you are a non-resident, additional mandatory registration rules apply. For more information, see GST/HST registration for non-resident businesses.

If you are a sole proprietor, a partnership, or a corporation, answer a few questions to find out if you are required to register for a GST/HST account.

For more information, see Mandatory GST/HST registration and Voluntary GST/HST registration.

How do you register?

You can register for a Business Number (BN) and one or more Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) accounts at the same time. It is the person or business entity that registers for GST/HST. For example, it is the partnership that registers and not each partner. Once you have registered, we will send you a letter confirming your BN, the accounts registered, and a summary of the information you provided.

Use our GST/HST registration checklist to make sure you have the information you need to register for a GST/HST account.
In Quebec, Revenu Québec administers the GST/HST. If your business is located in Quebec, visit the Revenu Québec website.

Before you register as a non-resident business, see GST/HST registration for non-resident businesses. It will help you find out if you have to register or if you can register voluntarily.

By internet

Business Registration On-line is a service that allows you to register online for a BN or a CRA account. You can also register for some provincial programs accounts at the same time. Businesses that do not have complex registration requirements can use this service.

Note

Non-resident operations cannot use our Business On-line service.

By telephone

You can register for a BN and CRA account(s) by calling our Business Enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525. Before calling, be ready to answer all the questions in Part A of Form RC1, Request for a Business Number (BN), and any other questions on the form that relate to the accounts you want to open.

By mail or fax

You can register for a BN and CRA account(s) by completing Form RC1, Request for a Business Number (BN) and mailing or faxing it to your local tax centre.

If you already have a BN, you have to complete Form RC1A, Business Number (BN) - GST/HST Account Information to get a GST/HST account. Indicate your existing BN on Form RC1A.

For more information, see What you can register for.

Note

Once you have registered a new GST/HST account, the Canada Revenue Agency may contact you to confirm the information you provided when you registered your Business Number (BN).

It is important that we review this information with you. You may be asked at that time to provide more information. Having complete and correct information on file for your business allows us to serve you better.

What is your effective date of registration?

The effective date of registration for GST/HST is important because it helps set up your reporting requirements and it establishes the date that you become both liable to collect GST/HST and eligible to claim input tax credits.

Mandatory registration

For a mandatory registration, the effective date is usually when you provide taxable, (which could include zero-rated) goods or services in Canada in the course of carrying on business in Canada and your revenues exceed the small supplier threshold in a single calendar quarter or in four consecutive calendar quarters. For more information on when you are required to register and when to start charging the GST/HST review our small supplier limit calculation page.

However, if you operate a taxi or limousine service, your effective date of registration is the day you begin to operate that service.

Voluntary registration

For a voluntary registration, the effective date of registration is usually the date the application is received. However, CRA will accept an earlier effective date, provided that the date is within 30 days of the date when the registration was made, regardless of the method of registration (online, telephone, or paper).

Note

If you have made sales and already charged GST/HST more than 30 days before setting up your GST/HST account, call 1-800-959-5525 for further information.

What do you have to do once you are registered?

As a GST/HST registrant, you are required to:

You can also make changes to:

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