Apple Canada has recently made changes to how it bills customers for all iTunes purchases, now charging GST/HST. The move applies to purchases such as music, movie rentals, Apple Music subscriptions and more.
An example is shown in the screenshot above. We rented Home Alone back in December and it cost $4.99 CAD. But a new rental in 2019 now shows the final price in your billing history with PST/GST/HST applied, which in our case is 12% in BC (7% PST + 5% GST). The final price is now $5.59 CAD, but the iTunes listing shows $4.99.
Many iPhone in Canada readers have let us know they have started to see GST/HST being applied to their iTunes purchases, including Apple Music subscriptions. The iTunes Store has long charged GST/HST on app purchases, however.
Let us know if you’ve noticed this recent billing change by Apple Canada. We’ve reached out to to the company for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
As of January 1, 2019, Quebec launched a digital sales tax on non-resident suppliers. Many Apple customers have long stated they’ve been paying tax on iTunes sales in Quebec for a while now.
As for the federal government, they have not launched a tax on digital services like Netflix yet, but in 2017, the CBC cited an internal document to then Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, which stated the lack of a digital tax “not only represents a significant loss of potential tax revenue for government, but it can also place domestic digital suppliers at an unfair competitive disadvantage.”
As far back as 2015, digital companies without a physical presence in Canada were not required to collect tax on digital sales. Consumers were supposed to ‘self report’ GST or HST on digital purchases from foreign-based vendors. This tax disparity between local digital companies and foreign saw big players such as Rogers lobby the government to advocate for a digital tax on purchases from Netflix, iTunes and more.
Update 3:48PM PST: In a statement to MacRumors, Apple issued the following statement regarding this GST/HST/QST change:
“As the world’s largest taxpayer, we respect the important role taxes play in society. Due to recent changes in Canadian legislation and the growth of our business, sales tax will now be charged on purchases of TV, movies, music and audiobooks. Apple has been operating in Canada for 38 years and we are proud to deliver the best products and services in the world to our customers here.”
Are you seeing GST/HST charged on all of your iTunes purchases now? You see your purchase history on your iOS device by launching iTunes, clicking the ‘More’ tab on bottom right, then tapping ‘Purchased.’
Thanks @trevtaylor; Stephen!