Quebec wants Netflix to pay provincial sales tax

If Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao has his way, streaming giant Netflix could soon have to collect Quebec's sales tax (QST) from its customers.

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Quebec's political parties formed a common front on Tuesday to demand companies such as Netflix pay provincial sales tax. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

If Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao has his way, streaming giant Netflix could soon have to collect Quebec’s sales tax (QST) from its customers.

But Leitao says before that can happen, he first needs to know the details of the deal that Ottawa has struck with Netflix.

Last week, the online entertainment company agreed to spend $500 million over five years on Canadian content, in exchange for not having to charge its customers the federal goods and services tax (GST).

“We need to know why the federal government may exempt this one company: what kind of an agreement was reached with this company?” Leitao said.

He said it’s very odd that Ottawa would exempt a company from paying a tax that all companies are expected to collect.

Carlos Leitao
Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said it’s very odd that Ottawa would exempt Netflix from paying a tax that all companies are expected to collect. (CBC)

Quebec politicians of all stripes agree with the Liberal finance minister.

A vote in the National Assembly Tuesday on a motion demanding that all foreign web-based companies collect QST from their customers passed unanimously.

Artists in Quebec are also unhappy with the move.

Sophie Prégent of the Union des Artistes said Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly didn’t realize the anger her deal with Netflix would cause, especially among the country’s artistic class.

“Maybe she underestimated the furor in the industry, on the ground,” she said.

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