Canadian consumers pay a federal goods and services tax (GST) on most goods and services. The current GST is 5 percent. Businesses that receive the GST and provide it to the government are required to have a GST registration number and are called registrants. Three of Canada's provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador), have combined the federal GST with their provincial sales tax. This combined tax is called the harmonized sales tax (HST). Businesses, whether they have a GST or not, are identified by a Business Number (BN).
Getting your GST
Download Form RC1 E, "Request for Business Number," from the Canada Revenue Agency. The form is available at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/rgstrng/chcklst/menu-eng.html. (For Quebec, see the Tips section.)
Fill out Part A of Form RC1 E. This part requires general information about your business, including its operational structure, type of operation, ownership information, and major business activities.
Fill out Part B of Form RC1 E. This part asks for detailed information about domestic and international sales, your business' fiscal year, and bank information.
Fill out Part C of Form RC1 E. This part requires information about your employees and payment policies.
Fill out the remaining parts of Form RC1 E, which request import/export information and income tax documentation if your business is a corporation. Sign the form at the bottom of the last page. Mail the completed form to the appropriate address (which depends on your province) listed at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cntct/tso-bsf-eng.html.
- If you are a resident of Quebec, the procedure differs. See the Revenu Quebec site at http://www.revenu.gouv.qc.ca/eng/services/sgp_inscription/index.asp (See Resource).
- The information provided in this article is based on publicly available guidance provided by the Canadian government. Consult a Canadian attorney if you have any questions about the how to apply for a GST or whether your business or organization requires one.