Posted by: LYF | August 2, 2008

GST

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.

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Responses

  1. I also hate it when they just transfer the client’s GST balance into his/her corporate taxes account without any notification at all…and that’s why I end up having GL balances not tying in with the returns. They also have this funky way of splitting out the clien’t payments into several pieces that doesn’t make sense to me!
    Well, at least some of it I get now…During my first week of training, mannnn…I was lost.

    By the way, I stumbled upon your blog through life of an auditor, and I haven’t have the time to go through all your posts, but the ones I’ve read have shed a light to some of my confusions. I’m also a Canadian CA student from BC working for a small firm. Thanks for writing about these things!

  2. I was in your exact same situation less than a year ago. Don’t worry things get better!

    If you have any questions shoot me an email bdirenfeld@hotmail.com


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