Posted on August 19th, 2020 by Arber Dick in Commodity Tax (HST)

GST/HST Reporting Period: How Frequently Do I Need to File?

Calendar on table with words GST & HST. Also a black clock on table

GST/HST registrants are required to file GST/HST returns on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. The reporting period a registrant has determines how often GST/HST returns are required to be prepared during the GST/HST year. When registering for a GST/HST account and in cases where a reporting period is not specified, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will assign an annual reporting period; however, the determination of the minimum filing frequency requirement is determined based on the registrant’s “threshold amount”.

Should I be Reporting Monthly or Annually?

Where a registrant (not a listed financial institution) is making taxable supplies (adjusted for some items in the threshold amount calculation) that exceed $6,000,000, GST/HST is required to be filed on a monthly basis.  Where annual taxable supplies are between $1,500,000 and $6,000,000, GST/HST is required to be filed quarterly and where taxable supplies are $1,500,000 or less, an annual reporting period would be permitted. 

It should be noted that for purposes of determining the threshold amount and the GST/HST reporting period, the annual taxable supplies considered exclude zero-rated exports and supplies made outside Canada.

Can I Pick my Reporting Frequency?

There are minimum filing frequency requirements for filing GST/HST returns but a registrant can voluntarily elect to expedite the frequency of filings.  For instance, a registrant with an annual filing requirement can elect to file on a quarterly or monthly basis and a registrant with a quarterly filing requirement can elect to file monthly.  This election can be made by filing the GST20 Election for GST/HST Reporting Period and may also be used to change reporting periods across an associated group where a prior threshold amount or group threshold amount has changed.

A registrant may prefer to accelerate their GST/HST reporting period for a variety of reasons, including to expedite GST/HST refunds where a large refund is expected or a filer is in a refund position regularly.

Threshold AmountReporting Period Options Available
$1,500,000 or lessAnnual, quarterly or monthly
More than $1,500,000 but not
more than $6,000,000
Quarterly or monthly
More than $6,000,000Monthly

Things to Remember When Determining your Reporting Frequency

It should be noted that the reporting period of a GST/HST registrant is not static.  The calculation of the threshold amount should be performed when there would have been changes to total revenue in the prior fiscal period.  This will clarify the options available for filing by determining if there has been a change to the minimum GST/HST reporting period requirements.  When performing the calculation, some revenues are excluded from the threshold amount.

When determining the minimum filing frequency requirements, an area that is often overlooked is the total revenues and threshold amount for ALL ASSOCIATES.  In an associated group, each associate is not looked at on a stand-alone basis to determine their individual reporting period requirements for GST/HST.  In contrast, the total revenue and threshold amount for ALL ASSOCIATES in totality should be considered when preparing the threshold calculation and determining the minimum reporting requirements.  For example, if one operating company in an associated group has total revenues (and a threshold amount in excess of $6,000,000), all associated entities for GST/HST purposes will be required to be filing monthly even if an associates individual threshold amount does not exceed $1,500,000.

For assistance with determining your GST/HST Reporting Period, please contact one of our DJB Commodity Tax professionals.

About the Author

Arber DickPartner | CPA, CA

Arber has experience in providing business, financial, and commodity tax consulting services to owner-managed businesses.
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