As a creative professional, navigating sales taxes and the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or Goods and Services Tax (GST) can be daunting. Understanding the different rules and regulations regarding sales taxes is crucial in running a successful business and avoiding potential legal issues. This blog post will break down the basics of sales taxes and HST/GST for Canadian creative professionals. 


The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a value-added tax that combines the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) with a provincial sales tax in certain provinces. Harmonization aims to streamline the tax system and reduce compliance costs for businesses operating in those provinces. 


Provinces that have harmonized their sales tax systems with the GST include Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. These provinces have a single HST rate applied to most goods and services, with some exemptions and special rules. 


On the other hand, provinces and territories that have not harmonized their sales tax systems with the federal GST continue to collect the GST separately. These provinces include British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, and the territories. 


The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers both the GST and the HST. Businesses operating in provinces with the HST must only register with the CRA. In contrast, businesses in provinces without the HST only need to register for the GST and manage the need to register separately for any provincial sales tax with the specific provincial authorities.


Understanding the differences between the HST and GST is essential for businesses to ensure they comply with the tax laws in their province and accurately collect and remit the appropriate taxes. It is also essential for consumers to understand how these taxes affect the prices they pay for goods and services in different provinces.


As a creative entrepreneur, you may be required to register for and collect sales taxes if your business exceeds a certain annual sales threshold. The current GST/HST registration threshold is $30,000 in annual sales.  It’s essential to keep track of your sales and monitor your revenue to ensure that you comply with tax laws.


When selling goods or services, you should also be aware of the different tax rates that apply. In provinces with an HST, the tax rate is either 13% (Ontario) or 15% (Atlantic provinces), while in provinces with only GST, the tax rate is 5%. It’s essential to include the appropriate tax rate in your pricing and collect taxes from your customers when required.


As a creative entrepreneur, you must be aware of the tax benefits and exemptions you may be eligible for regarding supplies and equipment used in your business. Purchasing art supplies or equipment can be a significant expense for creatives, so claiming input tax credits to recover the taxes paid can help alleviate some of that financial burden.


To take advantage of these tax benefits, it is crucial to keep detailed records of all your business expenses related to supplies and equipment. This includes keeping receipts and invoices for all purchases and documenting how these items are used in your business operations.


Consulting with a tax professional is highly recommended to maximize your tax deductions and take full advantage of any available exemptions or rebates. They can help you navigate the complex tax laws and regulations specific to creative businesses, ensuring you comply with all requirements while minimizing tax liability.


By staying informed and proactive in managing your business finances, you can ensure that you make the most of the tax benefits available to you as a creative entrepreneur. This can help you save money and improve your business’s overall financial health.


In conclusion, navigating sales taxes and HST/GST as a creative professional can be complex. By understanding the different rules and regulations, monitoring your sales, and keeping detailed records, you can ensure that your business complies with tax laws and maximizes your tax deductions. Consulting with a tax professional can also provide valuable guidance and support in managing your taxes effectively. Remember, staying on top of your tax obligations is essential for the success of your business in the long run.  If you need help creating a system to keep track of things for your business, contact us.