The Canadian province of Manitoba has revealed plans in its 2021 budget to add its Retail Sales Tax (RST) at a rate of 7% to streaming services, online marketplace, and online accommodation services. In doing so it will become the fourth Canadian province to apply such rules.
The application of this tax is effective from December 1, 2021, and the collection and remittance of the tax is the responsibility of the non-resident providers of such services. The information is included on page 159 of the Manitoba budget 2021 document.
In the document it states that the RST must be applied to “help ensure Manitoba businesses are competing on a level playing field with their out-of-province online competition.”
From December 1, 2021, Manitoba’s RST will apply on the following:
- Streaming services: RST will apply to audio and video streaming services effective December 1, 2021. Streaming service providers will be required to collect and remit the tax.
- Online Marketplaces: Online marketplaces will be required to collect and remit RST on the sale of taxable goods sold by third parties on their electronic platforms effective December 1, 2021.
- Online Accommodation Services: Online accommodation platforms will be required to collect and remit RST on the booking of taxable accommodations effective December 1, 2021.
Brian Pallister, the Premier of the province of Manitoba, quoted by CBC, said after the budget that: “The present structure was a free ride for some and an additional unfair advantage to others.” This ‘levelling of the playing field’ between non-resident and domestic suppliers is a consistent theme behind the introduction/amendment of such tax rules.
Canada GST/HST reform
Manitoba’s moves must also be analysed in an overall Canadian context. From July 1, Canada’s GST/HST rules will change how tax is applied to online sales from non-resident digital businesses. Canada is a major market and the taxation changes will introduce additional layers of complexity that are not instantly obvious.
The result is that from December 1, 2021, non-resident digital businesses will potentially face up to 5 registrations as a result of their sales in Canada. They may also have to contend with additional inconsistencies when it comes to B2B validation (e.g. online validation is available in some provinces, not all); threshold differences, and filing deadlines. We delve into more detail on these potential issues in our article Preparing for Canada GST/HST rule changes: how to be ready for July 1.
Provincial taxation moves on foreign-supplied digital services
Manitoba becomes the fourth Canadian province to reveal such taxation plans on foreign-supplied (or ‘remote’) digital services. It follows moves by Québec, Saskatchewan, and - since April 1 – British Columbia. The tax news also comes hot on the heels of Canada's GST/HST reform which comes into effect on July 1 this year.
Previously, in January 2019, Québec introduced new rules extending its sales tax system to the cross-border supply of digital services by non-resident companies. Saskatchewan did likewise.
These introductions have been considered a success with more revenue collected than expected. The new rules required foreign vendors without a PE or significant presence in Québec to register for and collect Québec Sales Tax (QST) on their sales to Québec-based consumers. They do so via a simplified registration system.
At the same time as Québec, Saskatchewan also amended its existing rules to require non-resident companies to register and comply with its Provincial Sales Tax (PST) system. The previous rules required local consumers to self-assess and remit the PST on their purchases from non-resident suppliers of digital services to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance.
British Columbia followed these provincial moves with the introduction of similar rules that came into effect on April 1 this year. These rules were originally due to become effective in July 2020 but were delayed due to the impact of COVID-19 to April 1 this year.
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