How GST Refunds Work and What to Do If You are audited
April 8, 2021 aadolphAudits
If your business is registered for the GST, there is a good chance that the GST you pay on your purchases exceeds the GST you collected on sales. When this happens, you can claim a refund of the excess GST that you paid out.
Every day, the CRA receives thousands of GST refund claims. It is the job of the refund integrity to use the reviewers it has available and verify as many units as possible.
What If My GST Refund Claim Is Selected For Verification
If you are a first-time refund claimant, your first refund claim will be flagged, and a human screener will decide whether to assign your claim for a “desk review”. The main difference between a desk review and an audit is that an audit is done by an auditor, at your place of business, and covers other stuff besides than verifying a refund claim prior to paying it out.
The Refund Integrity unit has three main goals: the first is to prevent from fraudulent refund claims being paid out. When I worked there, it was surprising how many businesses will “ghost” their refund claim once they get an enquiry from a CRA audit officer.
The second reason is that they want to see what type of business you are and what is the reason you are in a refund position? There can be many reasons:
- Buildup of inventory
- Start-up costs (for example IT company purchasing servers)
- Major capital project
- You’re a farmer or fisher who sells food
- You are developing real property, etc.
The third objective is to determine the correct rebate entitlement.
Do I Have To Claim A Refund?
No. You have four years to claim the GST you pay on your business purchases. Therefore, you can wait until you have enough GST accumulated to claim the GST input tax credits against it.
How Gateway Can Help
We know that dealing with the CRA can be very stressful. With Gateway by your side, you get a seasoned CRA auditor working for you. We know the auditor’s job, and in many cases both sides win when you hire a go-between.
How Long Does It Take Until I Get My Money?
The standard time has been 60 days from date of filing the claim. It may take up to two weeks for a claim to be assigned to a reviewer. Once approved, it takes less than a week, if you have direct deposit set up.
What If I am Missing Documentation to Support My Claim?
CRA will most likely adjust the claim to the maximum allowable, and you are more likely to be selected by the Refund Integrity in future refund claims.
Andrew Adolph is a CPA and former CRA auditor with 25 Years of experience. He helps businesses to not par any more in sales taxs than the law says they must and acts as an advocate for you if you are being audited, so you can fous on your business.