OTTAWA — Newly released documents show that federal officials have taken a close look at ways to have online services, such as Netflix and Amazon voluntarily agree to remit sales taxes.
Pages of briefing notes provided to Heritage Minister Melanie Joly over the course of 2017 detail how certain governments around the world have required foreign-based streaming services to register with the government in order to collect and pay taxes, rather than imposing new taxes on the services.
The notes, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, say countries should make it as simple as possible for companies to register with national tax offices, to collect revenue they are currently missing out on.
Quebec’s Liberal government announced in its budget Tuesday that it would do exactly that starting next September to put provincial sales tax on Netflix and any purchases from Amazon.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is remaining adamant under questioning today that the Liberals won’t increase taxes on those with online service subscriptions.
The costs of Netflix subscriptions have gone up in two of the jurisdictions reviewed in the documents to Joly — Japan and Australia — after the company added sales tax to the cost of its streaming service.