Tax Time

I was talking to a friend of mine, a small business owner, the other night and, as we tried to set a date for dinner she mentioned it would have to be after Thursday because her GST is due.

I let the comment go and we settled on Friday and said our goodbyes before I realized, “Hey, wait a minute. Is my GST due on Thursday, too?”

When you join the freelance life you imagine yourself working at home, pitching stories or accepting assignments, cold-calling, working contacts and worrying about the rent.

But I didn’t give a lot of thought to the fact that I would be a small business owner myself, a “tax collector,” as a now-former colleague said when I told him I was quitting my full-time job.

I scrambled to my desk and dug up the the most recent bit of mail I’d received from Revenue Canada and, sure enough, my GST was due for the period ending last December, when I applied for my GST number.

Over that period, I wrote one freelance story to see if I could really make a go of this thing.

I wasn’t up and running then, so I’m paying my $32.50 and that should keep me square with the feds for now. But the next cycle will include some of my first assignments as a full-time freelancer. And this time, I’m going to have to fully grasp the concept of an Input Tax Credit (ITC), so I can claim the GST on all of my business-related expenses. My first read-through of form RC4022, “General Information for GST/HST registrants,” made my head hurt.

I guess the latest lesson learned after a month in business is, I need an accountant.