I've finally come to the point where I need to register for a GST account with the government.
I'm somewhat relieved to be finally doing this, as I had alot of different information thrown at me about whether I should do this earlier than later, or whether I should have done it right from the beginning, or just wait until hitting the magic number...but I went with my accountant's advice and waited.
The process is a little misleading, as you don't just sign up for a GST account; rather you register for a business number with the federal government. In turn, this lets you open a variety of accounts with them: payroll, import/export, corporate income tax, etc., ... and a GST/HST account.
For a sole-proprietorship, you need to have some information ready:
This is just whether you're a SP, or incorporated, or a partnership
What your business name is legally. For a SP, its just your given name
Whether you're incorporated or not
This is the name that you use for marketing, advertising, etc. So for example, you might use your name with "Consulting" attached at the end.
This is when you became eligible for charging GST.
Where to contact you/send you stuff
Although the government site says you should be aware of this, they never actually ask you about this on the online registration form...and this is actually assigned. The reporting period is how often you have to send in your GST monies
Fiscal Year End
When your fiscal year end is. For most SP's, sticking to the calendar year is the easiest.
What your business does, and what pecentage of services make up your business.
They'll ask for your SIN
There are also a tonne of rules about whether you can apply online, but the site does a good job of explaining those. Once you submit your application, its reviewed and you'll receive a letter with the information about your accounts and your business number (which you use in dealing with the government).
For more information on registering for a business number, check out the link below.