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 :
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 post-assessment review
To make sure you reported certain amounts correctly on your GST/HST return, CRA may contact you for a GST/HST post-assessment review. This is not a GST/HST audit.
During this review, the CRA will ask you to provide a brief explanation to validate the amounts on your GST/HST return. In some cases, you may be asked to provide supporting documents for these amounts such as receipts or a bill of sale. Adjustments may be made to your GST/HST return, if required.
There are some common adjustments that are made to correct reporting errors on GST/HST returns. Read about common mistakes to avoid when completing your GST/HST return.
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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