Complete and file a return – After you file your GST/HST return


Once the Canada Revenue Agency receives your GST/HST return

Once the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) receives your GST/HST return, the CRA will send you a notice of assessment if either:

  • the CRA owes you a refund or rebate
  • your amount owing is more than the payment you made

If the CRA send you a notice of assessment and you are registered to receive email notifications, the CRA will send a notification that there is mail for you in My Business Account. If you are not registered for email notifications, the CRA will mail you your notice of assessment.

If there is an amount owing, the CRA will send you both your notice and Form RC159, Remittance Voucher – Amount Owing – personalized. Use this form to pay any outstanding amount. Form RC159 is not available on our website. This form is only provide in a pre-printed format. To order this personalized form, go to My Business Account, or Represent a Client

To view the status and the details of a previously filed GST/HST return, see My Business Account.

When to expect your refund

You can claim a refund if your net tax (line 109 of your GST/HST return) for a reporting period is a negative amount.

Generally, the CRA process a GST/HST return in:

  • 2 weeks if you filed electronically
  • 4 weeks if you filed a paper return

If you did not include all the necessary information but completed your return correctly, the processing of your refund could be delayed.

The CRA will hold any GST/HST refund or rebate you are entitled to until all outstanding returns and amounts are received. This includes all amounts payable and returns required under other programs administered by the CRA. The CRA can also use any GST/HST refund or rebate that you are entitled to receive to pay that outstanding amount.

You may receive your refund deposited directly into your bank account. For more information on how to enroll for direct deposit, go to Direct deposit – Canada Revenue Agency.

The CRA pay refund interest according to the prescribed interest rate. Refund interest is compounded daily on an overpayment up to and including the day the overpayment is refunded, repaid, or applied. The calculation of interest we pay ends on the day the refund is paid or applied.

For more information, see GST/HST – Penalties and interest.

Penalties and interest

Failing to comply with your GST/HST obligations could lead to penalties, interest, or even prosecution.

For example, penalties or interests may apply if you:

  • did not file on time
  • received a demand to file and did not file
  • had to file electronically and did not
  • made a false statement or omission

Interest is charged if you:

  • have an overdue balance owing on a return
  • make a late or insufficient instalment payment

For more information, see GST/HST – Penalties and interest.

Change a return

To change a return you have already sent, do not file another return. Instead, go to :

You can also send a letter to your tax centre indicating your GST/HST business number, the GST/HST reporting period to be amended and the corrected amounts per line number on your GST/HST return. Make sure the letter is signed by the owner, or an authorized representative for whom the CRA have the correct level of authorization and includes the name and telephone number of a person the CRA can contact if needed.

Make a voluntary disclosure

The Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) allows you to:

  • fix inaccurate or incomplete information
  • disclose information you had not previously reported to us

You may apply to the VDP to avoid penalties and prosecution. If you are eligible, you will only have to pay the taxes owing and interest.

For more information, see Voluntary Disclosures Program.

Support for small businesses

The Liaison Officer Service is designed to help small businesses understand their tax obligations. Selected small and medium-sized businesses can voluntarily choose to participate in the program. If you participate, a liaison officer will help you:

  • understand your tax obligations
  • find out where you can get more information
  • learn the common mistakes businesses make
  • get answers to your questions

For more information, see Liaison Officer service.

Prepare for a GST/HST audit

Being audited can be overwhelming. The following questions will help you prepare for a GST/HST audit and understand how the CRA’s tax audit process works:

  • Why do we audit and what is a tax audit?
  • What are your responsibilities and what happens during an audit?
  • What are your rights?

For more information on these subjects, see Business audits.

If you have a complaint

If you are not satisfied with the service you received or you disagree with the CRA, you have different options depending on the nature of your complaint.

If you are not satisfied with the service that you receive from CRA, see Submit service feedback.

If you believe that you have been subject to reprisal, see Reprisal Complaints

If you disagree with an assessment, determination, or decision, see File an objection – goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST).  

What records to keep

Usually, you must keep your records for six years from the end of the year to which they relate. This includes all sales and purchase invoices, and all other records related to your business operations and the GST/HST. However, the CRA may ask you to keep the invoices longer than six years. If you want to destroy your records earlier, you have to send the CRA a written request and wait for the written approval.

For more information, see GST/HST Memorandum 15.1, General Requirements for Books and Records.  

As a registrant, you also need the correct information on the invoices you get from your suppliers to support your ITC claims.

For more information, see Records you need to support your claim.

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