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Quebec Motion Passes to Impose Sale Tax on Netflix

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Quebec legislators passed a motion on Tuesday, to impose sales tax on companies like Netflix, reports the Canadian Press. The motion passed says it will “ensure the Quebec sales tax (TVQ) is imposed on all foreign companies that offer products and services online, notably in the cultural sector, as soon as possible.”

Last week the federal government announced a $500 million deal with Netflix, where the latter would bypass sales tax but rather invest in Canadian-made content over five years. The deal has been scrutinized in Quebec, where artists and the provincial government are not happy about it.

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said “Netflix’s service is a taxable service,” adding “The issue is for the company to collaborate with the imposition of taxes. In order for that to happen, we need to know, very clearly, the position of the federal government.”

Sophie Pregent of Union des Artistes, the largest French-language artist union, says the Netflix deal is a “sweetheart deal” for the streaming company, instead of Canada’s cultural producers.

“I think (Joly) genuinely thought the deal with Netflix would assuage our concerns but it did the opposite. The fire has spread all over,” said Pregent, who walked out of a meeting with Heritage Minister Melanie Joly.

The Minister responded to say she “hears” concerns of cultural artists and disagreed Netflix gained a tax break other Canadian production companies don’t also receive. She has stated repeatedly there won’t be a Netflix tax, as the government’s position is to not increase taxes for the middle class.

Bell welcomed a tax on Netflix, since it also pays tax for its streaming service CraveTV. The company told the Hollywood Reporter “We’re asking for a level playing field for all participants that ensures maximum benefits for Canadian viewers and creators. That includes an equitable tax regime and balanced approach to investment in Canadian content.”

Netflix told the Hollywood Reporter it “pays all taxes when required by law.”

What do you think? Should Netflix pay tax in Canada? Would paying sales tax on Netflix make you think twice about subscribing?

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  • Desman

    Piracy Here I come full speed! They better use that tax money to pay for their teacher’s salaries and support their Education system.

  • OliChabot

    That’s just normal. Quebec compnies hire Quebec citizens, pay Quebec taxes and perceive Quebec taxes. Then you get Netflix, a foreign company who doesnt hire Quebec citizens, doesnt pay Quebec taxes and doesnt perceive them either. That’s not really competitive and that is giving an advantage to a foreigner.

  • This is bullshit. I don’t pay for Netflix, but it’s the government wanting money for online (international) services which shouldn’t even be taxed.

  • Salinger

    Next week’s headline: “Netflix to Discontinue Service in Québec”.

  • bbousquet

    This gives them an unfair advantage over local businesses. If you do business here, you should charge taxes. Last I checked, CraveTV or Club Illico were subject to taxes. I don’t see why Netflix would be any different.

  • FragilityG4

    Why shouldn’t it be taxed?

  • bbousquet

    I doubt they care. It’s not like they’d be the ones to pay taxes – the end user will.

  • Salinger

    I’m sure they do care. It’s going to mean a lot of extra hassle and expense for them to on-board another country’s laws and regulations, remitting the collected taxes etc. If they do maintain service, I’m sure there’ll be an increase in pricing to cover the extra costs involved in managing and remitting foreign taxes.

  • bbousquet

    They already handle per country regulations/rights for movies. Îm sure they’ll manage to handle a local tax (which I’m sure occurs elsewhere).

  • Michel Plante

    Hey don’t you think we pay ???? enough taxes for Christ sake??? Quebec is the most taxed place in the world ???? what about a break??? ????????????

  • What about don’t use Netflix?

    The UK are taxed 20%.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    That reply is EPIC!

  • Decodering

    The tax would amount to not even $2 a month. I bet every person complaining spends more than that in one day on a coffee or some other indulgence and gets way less in value than what he or she is getting from Netflix.

    Personally, I’m for a tax on goods and services purchased over the internet. Taxing some transactions and not others based on where a good or service comes from or is sent to creates an unlevel playing field and hurts smaller outfits that serve local needs.

  • Decodering

    I would also add that in Quebec, there is basically zero content made in Quebec and very, very little content that is in French. Yet people here pay the same price as everywhere else even if doesn’t fully reflect local tastes. Yes, one can choose to buy the service or not, but the point is is that people really like the convenience and different way of having access to a large library of content but don’t really get as much value as those elsewhere.

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