When do I need a GST number as an independent contractor?

After returning from traveling, I wanted the flexibility  and freedom involved with being an independent contractor. As a newly self-employed individual I have a lot of questions about taxes, such as when and how should I charge GST/HST? Although straight answers and clear direction were hard to come by, I eventually found this article by Susan Ward that explains it quite clearly

Most start-up businesses will be classified as a “Small Supplier” and have no need to charge GST/HST There are, however, two scenarios which may effect  your small supplier status and need to charge GST/HST:

  1. If you are lucky enough to make more then $30,000 in sales (before expenses) in one calendar quarter (3 months) then at this point you are considered a GST registrant. You will have to collect GST/HST on the supply that made your revenue go over $30,000 and must register within 29 days of of producing the supply that made your revenue exceed $30,000.
  2.  If your revenue does not top $30,000 in one calendar quarter but does exceed $30,000 over four consecutive calendar quarters (one year), you are a small supplier over that time and for one month after those four quarter. After that you lose your small supplier status on the day you make the first supply after this period and have to register for the GST/HST within 29 days of this date.

To register for GST/HST you can visit the CRA site at:


Once you have determined your GST status, I highly recommend using FreshBooks for your bookkeeping.

Let me know if anyone out there has different information or can offer additional insight.


  1. If I hire a contract worker do they charge me GST?

    1. It would depend on how much they are making, pass along this article to them and they can asses their own situation.

  2. My husband is now working for a contractor out of Niagara. He has been offered several jobs installing decks, flooring, decks that support pools, as well as, as wheel chair accessible ramps for these area. Other people outside of this facility are inquiring for his work for decks and w/c assessable ramps and so on so fourth. What kind of a GST registry would he require? Or would he have to obtain an “x” amount of revenue prior to registering? And can this be just cash based or through a government funding for the potential client until he is established as a contractor on his own. We have several people in need of my husbands expertise and wondering if you can answer our questions. Thank you so very much. If you are unable to assist, can you direct us in the right direction.

  3. As an independent contractor, what are the steps to registering for GST/HST. I am just hitting the $30,000 mark the second week of December. Do I need a business number and business name to register for GST/HST? Is there a fee to be paid in order to receive a business number?

  4. I am a service provider…hairstylist ..indepentent contractor ….am I expected to pay half of gst of the salon owner ?

    1. Hi Debbie,

      It would really depend on the way your contracting situation is set up? Do you and salon owners split the profits of your sales?

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