Registering 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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If you are a non-resident, see GST/HST registration for non-resident businesses.

Do you have to register?

You have to register for a GST/HST account if you meet both of these conditions:

To find out if you are small supplier, go to Small supplier limit calculation.

You must register for a GST/HST account if you operate a taxi or limousine operator, even if you are a small supplier.

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.

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

What if you sell only real property?

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. Although you do not have to register in this case, your sale of real property may still be taxable and you may have to charge and collect the GST/HST.

How do you register?

There are three ways you can register:

  • online
  • by telephone
  • by mail or fax

You can register for a business number (BN) and one or more Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) program accounts at the same time.

In Quebec, Revenu Québec administers the GST/HST, unless you are a selected listed financial institution. If your business is located in Quebec, visit Revenu Québec.

Online

Business Registration Online allows you to register online for a BN and four different CRA program accounts. You can also register for some provincial programs accounts at the same time.

By telephone

You can register for a BN and CRA program accounts by calling 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).

By mail or fax

You can register for a BN and CRA program accounts by filling out 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.

What is your effective date of registration?

Your effective date of registration for the GST/HST depends on whether your registration is mandatory or voluntary. You must begin to collect the GST/HST and may be eligible to claim input tax credits starting on that effective date.

If you have charged GST/HST on your sales more than 30 days before registering, call 1-800-959-5525 for special instructions.

Mandatory registration

Your effective date of registration is usually the date you have to register, which is when you meet both these conditions:

To find out if you are small supplier, go to Small supplier limit calculation.

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

Voluntary registration

The effective date of your voluntary registration is usually the date the CRA receives your application. We will also accept an earlier effective date, if it is within 30 days of receiving your application.

What happens after you are registered?

Once you have registered a new GST/HST account, the CRA may contact you for information. Having complete and correct information on file for your business allows us to serve you better.

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

You can also make changes to your:

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