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E-commerce tax coming?

A Liberal-dominated House of Commons committee is calling on the Trudeau government to make Internet giants like Netflix collect and remit sales taxes on their services.

The international trade committee's report on e-commerce issues, released today, recommends the government apply sales taxes "on tangible and intangible products" sold through online platforms, and tax the profits from those sales.

Foreign-based streaming services without a physical presence in Canada don't have to collect or remit sales taxes, leaving it up to consumers to pay the sales tax to tax collectors — something that, in reality, rarely happens.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn't increase taxes on online subscriptions, but his finance minister has suggested the Liberals want to ensure online firms pay their fair share of taxes.

Conservatives on the committee say they want Trudeau to honour his pledge not to introduce a Netflix tax, writing in a dissenting report that such a tax would only create additional costs for consumers and hurt Canada's small businesses.

New Democrats on the committee say the Liberals need to apply corporate income taxes on e-commerce profits earned in Canada by domestic and foreign sellers, provided the income exceeds a specific threshold.



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