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How To File a GST/HST Return

January 10, 2023


How do you file a goods and services tax (GST) / harmonized sales tax (HST) return?


Generally, a GST/HST registrant can file a GST/HST return on paper, by telephone or electronically. However, before deciding which option to use, they must first determine if they are required to file online and which online method they can use. If a registrant is required to file their GST/HST return electronically and they do not, they will be subject to a penalty.


If a registrant is not required to file electronically, they can mail the CRA a paper return. They will complete the personalized GST34-3 return that the CRA mailed to them. They can also file the paper return at a participating financial institution as long as they have a balance owing.

Another option to file is through GST/HST TELEFILE. GST/HST TELEFILE allows registrants to file their GST/HST return by phone. They can call toll-free at 1-800-959-2038 and follow the prompts. The registrant will need their GST/HST access code (a four-digit access code sent by the CRA with your personalized GST/HST package). For more information: GST/HST TELEFILE

There are four ways to file a GST/HST return electronically.

  1. My Business Account or Represent a Client. They need to be registered or have their representative registered for them in order to file GST/HST returns here. They do not need a GST/HST access code to file a return under this method.
  2. GST/HST NETFILE. GST/HST registrants file online using their GST/HST access code. The website can be accessed here: GST/HST NETFILE
  3. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). GST/HST registrants can file their returns and remittance electronically through a participating financial institution. They do not need a GST/HST access code to file a return under this method. For more information: GST/HST EDI filing and remitting
  4. GST/HST Internet File Transfer. GST/HST registrants can file their returns using third-party accounting software. They will need their GST/HST access code to file a return under this method. For more information: GST/HST Internet File Transfer

As mentioned above, some GST/HST registrants are required to file their returns electronically. Most registrants must file their returns electronically if:

  • Their annual taxable supplies are more than $1.5 million (except for charities).
  • They are required to recapture input tax credits (ITCs) for the provincial part of the HST.
  • They are a builder who has been affected by the transitional housing measures in Ontario and British Columbia.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact a member of the Empire CPA team by filling out the contact form below.

Canadian and foreign tax laws are complex and have a tendency to change on a frequent basis. As such, the content published above is believed to be accurate as of the date of this post. Before implementing any tax planning, please seek professional advice from a qualified tax professional. Empire, Chartered Professional Accountants will not accept any liability for any tax ramifications that may result from acting based on the information contained above.

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