Canadians may need to look up a GST number to confirm that a business charging them tax is a GST/HST registrant. Businesses may also need to confirm their own GST/HST number after registering. In either case, looking up a GST/HST number is a relatively simple process. However, other GST/HST tax matters can be more complicated. At Jeremy Scott Law, our Canadian tax lawyers help our clients with a variety of tax matters, including GST/HST concerns. Contact us today at (902) 403-7201 for legal guidance on your tax situation.
Individuals and businesses needing to look up an HST number or GST number should do so easily by using the Canada Revenue Agency’s GST/HST Registry, which is a free service. This online system is available to all GST/HST registrants and allows them to confirm the numbers of businesses that have charged them GST/HST in transactions. This allows registrants to make sure they only make input tax credit claims for GST/HST charged by businesses or individuals who are GST/HST-registered.
Before using the GST/HST registry, it is important to know what to expect and how to use it. The GST/HST account number, business name, and transaction date are all necessary to conduct an effective search.
When entering the GST/HST account number, only enter the first nine digits. The letters should not be included in the search. Suppliers are required to include their GST/HST account numbers on all business documents when supplying $30 or more in taxable supplies. These business documents include invoices, receipts, contracts, and other documents.
Individuals who want to conduct a search but are unable to find a GST/HST account number should contact the supplier. If the supplier fails to provide a GST/HST number, the next step is calling the CRA Business Enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525 to confirm the registration.
You will need the supplier’s operating, legal, or trading name to run a search in the registry. This name should be included on the invoice but in many cases can also be found on a sign at their business location. If the search does not turn up any results for the business name, contact the owner to ask for the exact name registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.
The date of the transaction is the last piece of information needed for a search. This can be found on an invoice, receipt, contract, or other business document. If you are having trouble with any aspect of how to look up a GST number, you can learn more by contacting Jeremy Scott Law.
Quebec has its own registry for looking up Quebec Sales Tax (QST) numbers, managed by Revenu Québec. Residents of Quebec must use this system to look up a QST number. A QST number can be found by following these steps:
- Visit the official website of Revenu Québec, the tax authority that administers the QST.
- Go to the “My Account for Businesses” or “Mon dossier enterprise” section of the website.
- Log in, or register an account if you do not already have one. You must provide your business details, contact information, and social insurance number.
- Go to your business account, which offers various services and tools that allow you to manage your QST matters.
- Find your QST number in the business account section for tax registration or account information.
Those who are unable to find their QST number via Revenu Québec’s website should contact RQ directly. The agency’s representatives can determine what is wrong and help you locate your QST number.
According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the only parties that need to register for a GST/HST are those that provide GST/HST-taxable supplies. The CRA generally does not allow those that only provide exempt supplies to register. Businesses that meet the following two criteria are required to register for a GST/HST account:
- The business or individual makes taxable sales, leases, or other supplies in Canada. There is an exception for those whose only taxable supplies are non-business-related real property sales.
- The business or individual is not a small supplier.
Businesses looking to determine if they need to register for the GST/HST should consult the Canada Revenue Agency’s small supplier limit calculation, which applies to most businesses. According to this method, the following businesses are considered small suppliers and do not need to register for the GST/HST:
- The total revenue of the business was $30,000 or less in a single calendar quarter over the last four straight quarters
- $50,000 or less in revenue for public service bodies
- $250,000 or less in gross revenue, or less than $50,000 in taxable supplies for charities and public institutions
Suppliers who exceed these figures are legally required to register for the GST/HST. Please note it is important to understand that the limit calculation includes not only your revenues, but also the revenues of other businesses associated with you.
Non-residents conducting business in Canada are also required to register for the GST/HST and collect these taxes from their customers. This applies to both physical businesses owned by non-residents and digital platform operators that sell goods and services online in Canada. The CRA instituted new GST/HST rules for e-commerce operators in July 2021. Under the new rules, foreign businesses and vendors must apply for the GST if they sell digital products and services, physical goods supplied via Canadian fulfillment warehouses, or short-term accommodations via digital platforms.
If you have questions about how to look up a GST/HST number or other matters related to these taxes, an experienced Canadian tax lawyer at Jeremy Scott Law may be able to help. We can evaluate your tax situation and determine whether you need to register for the GST/HST and provide legal guidance with other tax-related matters. Contact us today at (902) 403-7201.