A lot of small owner-managed businesses have problems with GST. They don’t understand how it’s calculated. They don’t know when its due. And they don’t know how often they have to remit.
Like any kind of tax, you should NEVER go by your friend’s advice – listen to your accountant! Just because “so-and-so” files annually doesn’t mean you do too.
If you get into trouble with GST call the CRA. Their number is 1-800-959-5525. When you get through hit * this will take you to an operator. After you get an operator ask for a senior tax agent. It’s always best to speak to a senior tax agent. From my personal experience, most operator’s don’t have great tax knowledge. They just know where different guides are located on the CRA website. When I do speak to an operator, I usually have to do more digging afterward to find an answer; making my initial call to CRA superfluous. I find it saves a lot of time by asking one person – a senior tax agent – who can give me a full answer.
One last thing. Make sure the GST return is for the correct period. I’ve noticed that if you fill in the wrong period, CRA won’t notify you. They will cancel the return and will eventually charge you a penalty for not filing on time. I’ve seen a lot of people get really angry over this and it’s a situation that’s easily avoided.