One of every four Canadian businesses that collect GST fail to turn the money over to the federal government on time, often because they want to improve their own cash flow, says a new report.

The most common reason for failure to meet filing obligations was ensuring funds on hand didn’t run dry, says an April analysis from the Canada Revenue Agency.

“The majority of repeat non-compliant behaviour is a conscious decision on the part of the GST registrant. When cash flow is low, registrants may give priority to other suppliers and themselves, and avoid filing or making payments to the CRA.”

The report, based on 2007 statistics, found 776,000 businesses with “unresolved” accounts, meaning one or more of their scheduled GST remittances to the government was late.