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Do I need to charge the GST?

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Question: Do I need to charge the GST?
Answer: Basically, if you sell goods and services in Canada, you must charge customers GST HST unless your business qualifies as an exception.

The possible exceptions are:

  1. selling goods or services that are classed as GST zero-rated or exempt
  2. being a small supplier

1) If you are selling goods or services that are zero-rated (such as exports, medical devices or basic groceries) or goods or services that are exempt (such as music lessons or child care), you don't have to charge GST HST. What's the difference between zero-rated and exempt goods and services?

2) You qualify as a small supplier if "your total taxable revenues before expenses from all your businesses are $30,000 or less in the last four consecutive calendar quarters and in any single calendar quarter" (Canada Revenue Agency).

If exception #1 doesn't apply and you make over $30,000 you have to register for and charge GST.

Note that there are exceptions to the exceptions, too. For instance, taxi and limousine operators and non-resident performers have to charge GST HST even if they are small suppliers.

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