Electronic Filing and Payment
GST/HST memorandum 7-5
This version updates and replaces the one dated April 2003.
This memorandum explains the Canada Revenue Agency’s electronic filing and payment requirements under the Excise Tax Act that apply to the goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns.
All legislative references in this publication are to the Excise Tax Act unless otherwise specified. The information in this publication does not replace the law found in the Act and its regulations.
If this information does not completely address your particular situation, you may wish to refer to the Act or relevant regulation, or call GST/HST Rulings at 1-800-959-8287 for additional information. If you require certainty with respect to any particular GST/HST matter, you may request a ruling. GST/HST Memorandum 1-4, Excise and GST/HST Rulings and Interpretations Service explains how to obtain a ruling or an interpretation and lists the GST/HST rulings centres.
If you are located in Quebec and wish to request a ruling related to the GST/HST, please call Revenu Québec at 1-800-567-4692. You may also visit the Revenu Québec website at revenuquebec.ca to obtain general information.
For listed financial institutions that are selected listed financial institutions (SLFIs) for GST/HST or Quebec sales tax (QST) purposes or both, whether or not they are located in Quebec, the CRA administers the GST/HST and the QST. If you wish to make a technical GST/HST or QST enquiry related to SLFIs, please call 1-855-666-5166.
Reference in this publication is made to supplies that are subject to the GST or the HST. The HST applies in the participating provinces at the following rates: 13% in Ontario and 15% in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The GST applies in the rest of Canada at the rate of 5%. If you are uncertain as to whether a supply is made in a participating province, see GST/HST Technical Information Bulletin B-103, Harmonized Sales Tax – Place of Supply Rules for Determining Whether a Supply is Made in a Province.
Table of Contents
- Methods and criteria for electronic filing
1. For GST/HST purposes, subsection 278(1) requires that every person who is required to file a return must file the return in a manner authorized by the Minister. Returns can be filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by mail or electronically. However, certain persons are required to file their returns electronically using the media specified in writing by the Minister. The criteria for using each filing method are described in paragraphs 14 to 24 of this memorandum.
Who must file by electronic transmission
2. Subsection 278.1(2.1) and section 2 of the Electronic Filing and Provision of Information (GST/HST) Regulations requires that, except for a selected listed financial institution, a person that is a registrant must file its return electronically for a reporting period that is in a fiscal year of the registrant in the manner specified by the Minister if:
- The person is not a charity and the threshold amount of the person for the fiscal year, as determined under subsection 249(1), exceeds $1.5 million. In general, under subsection 249(1), the threshold amount of a person for a fiscal year is calculated based on the total consideration for taxable supplies made in Canada by the person, including those of associates, in the immediately preceding fiscal year. When calculating this amount, a person does not include consideration attributable to supplies of financial services, supplies by way of sale of capital real property, supplies of zero-rated exports of goods and services, and goodwill.
- The person is a large business (as defined in subsection 236.01(1) and section 27 of Part 6 of the New Harmonized Value-added Tax System Regulations, No. 2) at any time in the reporting period or in a preceding reporting period of the registrant in the fiscal year. A large business is subject to the requirement to recapture input tax credits for the provincial portion of the HST paid or payable on certain taxable supplies acquired in Ontario, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), and British Columbia (from July 1, 2010 to March 31, 2013).
- The person is a builder that:
- makes a specified housing supply in respect of which tax under subsection 165(1) becomes payable at any time in the reporting period;
- is a recipient of a supply of a residential complex that is a qualifying housing supply and makes a taxable supply of the residential complex in respect of which tax under subsection 165(2) becomes payable at any time in the reporting period; or
- is deemed to have collected, at any time in the reporting period, transitional tax adjustment as a consequence of paragraph 51(1)(e), 52(1)(e), 53(1)(e), 58.04(1)(e), 58.05(1)(e), or 58.06(1)(e) of the New Harmonized Value-added Tax System Regulations, No. 2.
- The person is a builder that claims a transitional new housing rebate under subsection 228(6) (either a rebate that the builder is entitled to claim or a rebate that is assigned to the builder by a purchaser who is entitled to claim the rebate) in its return for the reporting period.
3. There are special rules for builders for filing returns electronically. For more information, see GST/HST Info Sheet GI-099, Builders and Electronic Filing Requirements, and GST/HST Info Sheet GI-118, Builders and GST/HST NETFILE, to help in determining the electronic filing option that can or must be used by a builder.
4. If a person files a return electronically, the return is deemed under subsection 278.1(3) to be filed in prescribed form on the day the CRA confirms that it was accepted. If a third-party service provider files a return electronically on behalf of a person, it is the person’s responsibility to obtain and keep copies of the confirmations sent by the CRA to the third-party service provider.
System failure and incomplete or faulty transmission
5. If a person cannot send a return or payment electronically due to a malfunction of equipment or software, an alternative method must be used. This may include filing a paper return or payment by mail no later than the day the return or payment is due.
6. If the CRA has not confirmed that a return was accepted (for example, in the case of an incomplete or faulty transmission) the return is considered not to have been filed. Any amounts owing will be subject to interest and penalties if the correct re-transmission of the return, or a paper return, and the payment is not received by the due date.
No signature required
7. Generally under section 279, a return, certificate, or other document required to be provided by a person (other than an individual) for GST/HST purposes has to be signed on behalf of the person by an individual duly authorized for that purpose. However, this requirement does not apply to a return filed electronically under section 278.1.
Proof of electronic transmission
8. For GST/HST purposes, if a notice or other communication is made available in electronic format to a person such that it can be read or perceived by the person or a computer system or other similar device, the notice or other communication is considered under subsection 335(10.1) to be sent to, and received by, the person on the date that the electronic message is sent to the electronic address most recently provided by the person to the CRA before that date. A notice or other communication is considered to be made available if it is posted by the CRA in the person's secure electronic account and the person has authorized that notices or other communications may be made available in this manner and has not revoked that authorization before that date.
9. The CRA keeps a communication log of all electronically filed returns and payments received. If there is any dispute about whether a particular return or payment was ever transmitted, the person must provide proof of a successful transmission received from the CRA for the transmission in question (for example, the confirmation number shown on the GST/HST NETFILE confirmation notice). In the absence of clear evidence, the CRA’s communication log will serve as the determining record of all transmissions.
Proof of return
10. For GST/HST purposes, subsection 335(12.1) indicates that a print-out provided by the CRA of information received by electronic media under section 278.1, is considered to be received as evidence and is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof of the return filed by the person under that section.
11. Registrants that have a rebate application relating to an amount required to be reported in a GST/HST return that is required to be filed electronically should ensure that the rebate application is mailed and received by the CRA on or before the due date of the return. However, some rebate applications may be filed electronically. Those rebates and the electronic filing methods to use are:
- Registrants can file public service bodies’ (PSB) rebates with a return using My Business Account or GST/HST NETFILE. Both registrants and non-registrants can file their PSB rebate by itself using My Business Account or GST/HST NETFILE.
- Builders can file GST/HST new housing rebates, where the builder paid or credited the amount of the rebate to the buyer, using My Business Account or GST/HST NETFILE.
- Registered filers can file Ontario First Nations' point-of-sale rebates with a return using My Business Account or GST/HST NETFILE.
- Eligible provincial and territorial entities can file the GST/HST government rebate with a return using My Business Account or GST/HST NETFILE. This GST/HST rebate is for those entities in provinces or territories that have agreed to pay GST/HST upfront on their purchases, then claim a government rebate of that amount through a special rebate mechanism.
12. Both registrants and non-registrants can also use My Business Account or GST/HST NETFILE to file their annual Form GST523-1, Non-Profit Organizations - Government Funding.
13. The Electronic rebate forms web page on Canada.ca provides the most current information on rebates that can be filed electronically.
Methods and criteria for electronic filing
My Business Account
14. My Business Account is a secure online portal that allows a registrant to manage tax-related information for their business with the CRA, including filing returns electronically using their single user ID, password, and business number. My Business Account can also be accessed through an accredited Sign-in Partner. An authorized representative for a registrant can access My Business Account on behalf of the registrant through Represent a Client.
15. Registrants may sign up to use My Business Account.
16. GST/HST NETFILE is an Internet-based filing service that allows eligible persons with a four-digit access code to file their GST/HST returns and eligible rebates directly to the CRA over the Internet. The access code is printed on the electronic filing information package (Form GST34-3) or on the personalized return (Form GST34-2 or Form RC7200) that the person receives in the mail. A person can change their access code to a number of their choice by using GST/HST Access Code Online or calling the Business enquiries toll-free number. If a person accesses GST/HST NETFILE through the “File a return” link in My Business Account, the person will not need to enter its access code when filing the return.
17. In general, persons identified in paragraph 2 of this memorandum are required to file their returns using GST/HST NETFILE. All other persons may use GST/HST NETFILE to file their returns electronically, excluding accounts administered by Revenu Québec. Selected listed financial institutions (SLFIs) are not required to file their GST/HST returns electronically, but they may choose to use electronic media to file their interim returns (Form GST34-2 or Form RC7200). SLFIs cannot file non-personalized returns (Form GST62 or Form RC7262) or final returns (Form GST494 or Form RC7294) electronically.
GST/HST Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
19. GST/HST EDI is a computer-to-computer exchange of information in a standard format filed electronically through a participating financial institution or third-party service provider. All registrants that are not required to use GST/HST NETFILE may use GST/HST EDI to file their electronic returns and make payments, excluding accounts administered by Revenu Québec. Selected listed financial institutions that are only GST/HST registrants may use GST/HST EDI.
20. To use GST/HST EDI or for more information, go to GST/HST EDI filing and remitting or contact a participating financial institution or third-party service provider.
GST/HST Internet file transfer
21. GST/HST Internet file transfer is an Internet-based filing service that allows eligible registrants to file their GST/HST returns directly to the CRA over the Internet using third-party CRA-approved accounting software. A registrant uses the four-digit access code printed on their electronic filing information package (Form GST34-3) or on their personalized return (Form GST34-2) to use GST/HST Internet file transfer to file their return. All registrants that are not required to use GST/HST NETFILE may use GST/HST Internet file transfer to file their returns, excluding accounts administered by Revenu Québec. Selected listed financial institutions that are only GST/HST registrants may use this method.
22. To use GST/HST Internet file transfer or for more information, go to GST/HST Internet File Transfer.
23. GST/HST TELEFILE is a method that allows eligible registrants to file their GST/HST returns using their four-digit access code, a touch-tone telephone and the toll-free number 1-800-959-2038. An automated telephone process prompts the registrant for their tax information using their telephone keypad. Registrants will receive a confirmation number once they have completed the process. All registrants that are not required to use GST/HST NETFILE may use GST/HST TELEFILE to file their returns, excluding accounts administered by Revenu Québec. Selected listed financial institutions that are only GST/HST registrants may use GST/HST TELEFILE.
24. For more information, go to GST/HST TELEFILE.
Place of payment
25. Under subsection 278(2), a person (supplier) who is required to pay or remit an amount for GST/HST purposes must collect from the recipient and pay or remit the amount to the Receiver General unless section 221 applies and the supplier is not required to collect the tax payable by the recipient. This would include circumstances involving taxable supplies of real property by way of sale and certain supplies of freight transportation services that are part of a continuous outbound freight movement. In such cases the recipient must pay or remit the tax directly to the Receiver General.
26. A person can make their payment electronically, through their financial institution, or by mail. A person that files a return electronically and has an amount owing, may make a payment by:
- using CRA’s pre-authorized debit service through either My Business Account or GST/HST NETFILE;
- using CRA’s My Payment debit card payment service;
- using a financial institution’s Internet or telephone banking service;
- using a third-party service provider;
- mailing a cheque or money order (payable to the Receiver General) to the appropriate tax centre, along with Form RC158, GST/HST Netfile/Telefile Remittance Voucher; or
- paying in person at a financial institution using Form RC158, GST/HST Netfile/Telefile Remittance Voucher.
Payments or remittances of $50,000 or more
27. Under subsection 278(3), if the amount to be paid or remitted to the Receiver General is $50,000 or more, the payment or remittance must be made to the account of the Receiver General at a:
- bank (other than an authorized foreign bank that is subject to the restrictions and requirements in subsection 524(2) of the Bank Act);
- credit union; or
- corporation authorized under the laws of Canada or a province to:
- carry on the business of offering its services as a trustee to the public; or
- accept deposits from the public and that carries on the business of lending money on the security of real estate or investing in mortgages or hypothecary claims on real estate.
Payment due date
28. If a person makes their payment or remittance through a financial institution, the CRA does not consider to have received the payment until the financial institution processes the transaction. For third-party service providers, allow sufficient time (generally two or three days) for the financial institution to process the payment and credit the Receiver General account. Online payments are processed at the CRA on the next business day.
29. Registrants can download the “CRA Business Tax Reminders” mobile app to help keep track of due dates for returns, payments and remittances. For more information, go to Mobile apps – Canada Revenue Agency.
30. For information on penalties related to electronic filing and payment refer to GST/HST Memorandum 16-2, Penalties and Interest.
All GST/HST technical publications are available at Technical information – GST/HST.
To make a GST/HST enquiry by telephone:
- for GST/HST general enquiries, call Business Enquiries at 1-800-959-5525;
- for GST/HST technical enquiries, call GST/HST Rulings at 1-800-959-8287.
If you are located in Quebec, call Revenu Québec at 1-800-567-4692 or visit their website at revenuquebec.ca.
If you are a selected listed financial institution (whether or not you are located in Quebec) and require information on the GST/HST or the QST, go to GST/HST and QST - Financial institutions, including selected listed financial institutions or
- for general GST/HST or QST enquiries, call Business Enquiries at 1-800-959-5525;
- for technical GST/HST or QST enquiries, call GST/HST Rulings SLFI at 1-855-666-5166.
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