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Goods and Services Tax and Harmonized Sales Tax - GST/HST

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency – CCRA

Last Verified: 28/04/08

The goods and services tax (GST) is a tax that applies to the supply of most goods and services in Canada. Three provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, referred to as the participating provinces) harmonized their provincial sales tax with the GST to create the harmonized sales tax (HST). The HST applies to the same base of taxable goods and services as the GST.

Effective January 1, 2008, the GST rate is reduced from 6% to 5%, and the HST rate from 14% to 13%.

Most goods and services are subject to GST/HST which includes zero-rated sales and supplies. Some sales or supplies are exempt from GST/HST.

Although the consumer pays the tax, businesses are generally responsible for collecting and remitting it to the government. Businesses that are required to have a GST/HST registration number are called registrants.

Registrants collect the GST/HST on most of their sales and pay the GST/HST on most purchases they make to operate their business. They can claim a credit, called an input tax credit (ITC), to recover the GST/HST they paid or owe on the purchases they use in their commercial activities.

GST/HST registrants must meet certain responsibilities. Generally, they must file returns on a regular basis, collect the tax on taxable supplies they make in Canada, and remit any resulting net tax owing.

Note:  In Quebec, Revenu Québec administers the GST/HST. If your business is located in Quebec, visit the Revenu Québec Web site. 

If you are operating as a sole proprietor, go to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/business/topics/gst/soleprop/registering/menu-e.html for information on registering for a GST number.

If you are operating as part of a corporation (i.e. your business is incorporated), go to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/business/topics/gst/corporation/registering/menu-e.html  for information on registering for a GST number.

For additional details, go to: ServiceOntario: Gateway for Business or call the Revenue Canada Business Information Service at 1-800-959-5525 for service in English or 1-800-959-7775 for service in French.

If you require personal assistance, contact the CCRA Business Window closest to you. A listing of the Business Windows is available from CCRA's Web site.

Information contained in this section is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute advice for any specific fact situation. For particular questions, the users are invited to contact their lawyer or the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

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