This is a question that comes up a lot as even if you are registered as a quarterly or annual remitter for GST/HST, you probably want to be reviewing how much you owe more regularly than that.
I advise my clients to make monthly instalment payments to the CRA, even if they aren’t mandatory, and they are able to do this themselves (if they wish) by reviewing the amount owing.
There are a couple of ways to see how much you owe at any given time that I have listed below, but the most important thing is that your books are up to date first. If you review what is owing when they aren’t up to date, it is very likely the number will be incorrect.
Reviewing on the Balance Sheet
If you have a bookkeeper that sends you monthly financial reports, you will be able to see the amount owing on the Balance Sheet report in the ‘Current Liabilities’ section. It should be clearly labeled as GST/HST Payable, there may also be a GST/HST Suspense account which would include any instalments you have made. Therefore, the amount owing is the Payable amount minus the Suspense amount. If the Balance Sheet is set up nicely, these two will be grouped as sub-accounts so the total is calculated for you (instead of you doing it manually). Check the date at the top of the report as this will only tell you the balance up until that date.
You can also check the Balance Sheet yourself within QBO, if you go to the ‘Reports’ tab and select ‘Balance Sheet’. It generally defaults to the previous month, but you can always change the ‘Report Period’ to ‘Today’ and this would then show you the balance today. As mentioned earlier this would only be accurate if your books are up to date.
Reviewing in the Taxes Tab
This is probably the simpler and more visual way to review what is owing, but the Sales Tax Centre must be set up and used properly for this to work. This can be complicated, so it is best to get a bookkeeper to get it set up properly.
If it is set up, when you are logged into your QBO Account, click on the ‘Taxes’ tab. You should see a box that says Canada Revenue Agency, an amount, and the Current Period dates. The amount showing would be what is owing as of today or up until the end of the period (if you have any future-dated Invoices and Expenses entered).
As mentioned, the books need to be up to date and the Sales Tax Centre has to be set up properly and also up to date for this to be accurate.