Should I apply for a GST number? Should I charge GST?

It may not be a question of “should I?” but rather “must I?”

If your business provides taxable supplies in Canada, and you are not considered a small supplier – meaning your revenue exceeds $30,000 for a single calendar quarter or for four consecutive quarters – you are required to register for a GST/HST number.

You do not need to register for a GST/HST number if you provide only exempt supplies.

If you no longer qualify as a small supplier you’ll need to create a GST/HST account with the Canada Revenue Agency and begin charging GST/HST.

If you haven’t hit the $30,000 threshold, you may choose to register voluntarily. Your GST/HST number will be a part of your Business Number (BN); if you don’t have a BN already you’ll receive one when you set up a GST/HST account. However, once you register, you MUST start charging GST/HST.

If you exceed $30,000 in a single quarter, your effective date of registration is the date of the sale that pushed you above the threshold, and you must charge GST/HST on that sale.

However, if you exceed that threshold over a period of four consecutive quarters, your effective date of registration is the beginning of the month after you are no longer considered a small supplier. In this case you’ll need to begin charging GST/HST on your date of registration.

For more information about GST/HST for businesses, or to get registered, visit the CRA website.