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Ask an Expert

Should GST be paid

Expert: Julia Germain

Max asked:

I am charged gst on landscaping service, but the business has not provided a business number on the invoice. Should I be paying gst? Have not been charged pst. The owner is self-employed.

Julia Germain answered:

GST # (or the business #, a 9 digit # followed by or not by RT or RT001) must be supplied on all invoices.

You have the right to refuse to pay the GST portion of the invoice until they are available to provide the #.

You will find that sometimes, they just don't realize it and there is nothing intentionally fraudulent but there have been times in the past that they are not registered and have fraudulently claiming & making an extra 6-7%.

They could be in the process of applying for it and it would take a little while to get it.

If that is they case then ask them to provide you with the approval letter from Canada Revenue Agency stating the effective date of the approval. The approval date is when they can legally start charging it.

Once they supply you with the # you can enter it though the attached link :

It will tell you if it is valid.

If the company is a sole proprietor – the name you enter would have to be the owners' name not the company's operating as name. In the case of a GST # - it is tied to the person for a sole proprietor whereas a corporation's GST # is tied to the corporation.

Landscaping services to date is only subject to charging GST. Unless they also run a nursery and sell plants/products that you pick up yourself and install. Then they would have to charge PST also on products you pick up.

They technical glitch to there being no PST on landscaping services is because are supplying & installing the products.

Off the subject but my major concern would be that they have proper WSIB ( Workplace Safety & Insurance Coverage ) coverage as many new small companies do not and are not even aware they are required to register. If one of their employees gets hurt on the worksite (ie your residence) and tries to make a WSIB claim – if there is not WSIB in place, the employee could sue you under your home liability portion of your home insurance.

The latter is something to be aware of for when you are hiring anyone to do any work at your home. Any reputable contractor would be covered but these days there is great shortage of skilled labourers so there are many no-so skilled labourers out there without the proper coverage.

And do they even have proper insurance to cover damage to your home by their work? There are many “questionable” but talented individuals out there who just work and not realize there are regulations to follow. Find the right one.

About the author

Julia Germain is an accounting and business consultant offering full accounting & bookkeeping services to small businesses in York Region. Julia runs Ask the Accountant Inc., a company operating in York Region. Contact Julia at Ask the Accountant Inc., Tel : 416-573-4229.


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