MPs probe officers on ability to acquire GST from Netflix, other international providers

OTTAWA — Opposition MPs pressed officials Thursday to say how prepared they will be to begin gathering GST on cross-border product sales by international companies commencing following year, as proposed by the Liberal government’s fiscal update.

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Overseas companies without a bodily presence in Canada, this sort of as Netflix, Airbnb and Amazon, presently are not necessary to gather the federal merchandise and services tax which is routinely used by domestic companies.

Senior officers from the Canada Profits Company, Finance Division and the Canada Border Solutions Company instructed a Commons virtual committee conference Thursday they will be capable to begin collecting GST and HST on cross-border digital sales by July 1.

“We’re quite self-assured,” CRA chief govt Bob Hamilton explained.

“I would say, however, that it is really likely to call for some imagining amongst now and then and, obviously, consulting since we want to do this in a way that is streamlined and productive.”

He mentioned the company has the means it requirements to meet the deadline but there are generally gaps in the tax program that want to be filled.

“The one particular good detail I would reference is that there are other nations around the world and jurisdictions that have finished some of this, so we will be hunting to those practices as very well as partaking the stakeholders to glance at finest way to apply this,” Hamilton claimed.

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He claimed the CRA will get a “excellent share” of the GST revenue that really should be gathered on cross-border gross sales and but it’s hard to estimate what share of the total can be collected.

The selection of GST or HST on all transactions could be a politically billed problem for quite a few good reasons, such as international treaties concerning Canada and other nations as very well as the effect on what arrives out of customer pockets.

Conservative MP Philip Lawrence, who led off the queries a two-hour assembly of the Standing Committee on General public Accounts, asked how the CRA can be certain overseas corporations comply with the government’s approach — particularly if they’re not a reliable substantial business.

Ted Gallivan, a further CRA official, mentioned that the OECD — a multinational firm that includes Canada and most other sophisticated economies — has produced great advice on how to be certain there is voluntary compliance.

He added that “nations are doing work jointly to offer with aggressive non-compliance.”

— by David Paddon in Toronto.

This report by The Canadian Push was first printed Dec. 3, 2020.

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