FAQ

How do I get a GST number?
To register for GST, you first have to get a Business Number (BN), but it’s all quite straightforward. Start here and read all about it: www.cra-arc.gc.ca. Once you are GST registered, you must charge six percent GST on all your invoices for gigs and so on; in some provinces you may also have to charge HST. Whether you have to report the GST quarterly, semi-, or annually depends on how much money you make, and the whims of Revenue Canada. Try to be smart about putting the GST/HST you collect aside, so that you don’t have to scramble for money to remit at reporting time. In happy news, when you report your GST/HST collection, you will be able to deduct all of the GST/HST you paid on business expenses in the same period. So, if your guitar strings cost $19.99 + GST, the GST you paid will be deductible. You may find it nets out and you owe nothing — or you may even get a GST rebate.

How are we supposed to keep track of everything when we’re on the road?
It’s not that hard! After all, you’re probably killing hours and hours of time in the van. If you don’t bring a laptop on the road, then invest in a couple of ledger books, one for income and one for expenses, along with a duplicate invoice book and a duplicate receipt book. Bring a calculator. Appoint one band member the road accountant (you may find it necessary to provide incentives in the form of bonus beer tickets, or extra nap time). Buy an accordion file and keep your receipts organised or at least all in one place. Take this file on the road with you. If you’re travelling with a laptop, make up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all your merch sales, road expenses, and so on. But if all that’s just too much, then at least keep all your receipts in one place!

I pay for a lot of my band’s expenses. I’m worried that if we start a partnership or a corporation, all that money I put in will just disappear. Can you recommend a fair way to deal with it?
Chartered accountant Ismail Ebrahim suggests: "If a certain person financed the debt, the corporation can be set up so that he owns a bigger percentage of the corporation to compensate him for the financing. The other way would be that the musician who provided the financing would be given a promissory note or a debt obligation by the corporation.”