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One More Reason to Emigrate: No Netflix Tax in Canada

  • Aug 7, 2015 | Gail Cole

 Should it be taxed?

Affordable health care, friendly people, fewer guns, and a positive global reputation have long inspired Americans to emigrate to Canada. Now there’s one more reason to head north: no tax on Netflix.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been vocal in his opposition to such a tax: “I’m 100% against a Netflix tax — always have been, always will be.” Truly, how could the hard-core fan of “Breaking Bad” ever suggest such a tax?

To prove the point, Harper’s Conservative Party has made a “horror” movie and posted it on the party website: Applying Justin & Mulcair Tax Hike (Thomas Mulcair is the NDP Leader and Justin Trudeau is the Liberal Leader). It is introduced with the following:

 “Some politicians want you to pay more for Netfix, YouTube, and other digital streaming services….

We are 100% against a Netflix Tax and today the Prime Minister reaffirmed that a re-elected Conservative Government will reject calls to impose a new tax on digital services such as Netflix and YouTube to protect Canadian consumers.”

It’s an inflammatory little number and members of the Liberal Party have responded in kind. NPD candidate Peggy Nash told the Toronto Sun, “We have not proposed a Netflix tax. In fact, it was the Conservatives who consulted about imposing a Netflix tax in their 2014 budget.” The fun won’t stop until after the October 19 election.

The rest of the world

Netflix taxes have been making headlines around the world. Australia levied general sales tax (GST) on Netflix on July 1, when South Korea also imposed new taxes on digital goods and services. Several other countries are considering similar taxes.

Here in the United States, Chicago slapped a cloud tax on Netflix and similar services earlier this summer. Colorado has extended the definition of tangible personal property to include numerous digital goods and services. Florida taxes the service under its expansive communication services tax. In other states, such as Kentucky, departments of revenue are coming up with creative ways to tax the service (Tax Analysts).

The taxation of digital goods and services is a hot topic these days, as evidenced by its appearance in Canadian politics. Businesses offering these types of products should be vigilant to changing tax policies. Automated sales tax Software-as-a-Service helps businesses prepare for any eventuality. Learn how it works.

photo credit: Day 81 via photopin (license)

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.