Jagmeet Singh's NDP Would Set a Tax on Netflix

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If you subscribe to Netflix (as most people do these days if they’re not mooching off of someone else), big changes could be coming your way under Jagmeet Singh’s NDP.

The new federal party leader and Brampton MPP Jagmeet Singh would impose a Netflix sales tax on our beloved streaming medium, according to a recent article by the Globe and Mail.

The NDP has been calling for greater tax fairness, which includes closing stock option loopholes and putting an end to tax havens and making sure that all companies doing business in Canada pay their fair share,” said an NDP representative in a statement to inbrampton.com.

Not only would Netflix have a tax - other foreign, Internet-based companies would, as well, under Singh’s leadership.

It’s true that the NDP believes that all companies should pay a tax. According to the Globe, a Netflix subscriber would pay just less than $2 per month in additional GST/HST if the service were taxed.

In fact, here’s what heritage critic Pierre Nantel and finance critic Alexandre Boulerice has to say on the NDP’s stance on a sales tax:

The NDP has always been clear: ALL companies, whether they are Canadian or foreign, should be paying their fair share. It is the Federal government’s responsibility to level the playing field and this means making sure that all companies that do business in Canada pay their taxes.”

This does diverge from the other major parties’ stances on the issue - the Conservatives, for one, would keep Netflix tax-free.

Some might say that Singh is going back on a promise from about two years ago where it was stated during a general election that the NDP would not tax Netflix. Some might also argue that the tax would be an additional revenue stream for the NDP. However, others might agree that taxing Netflix is all about fairness and tax equity.

In September, the federal government announced that Netflix Canada is coming. Netflix plans to inject $500 million over five years to set up a production house in Canada - Netflix’s first branch out of the United States.

According to the Globe, the Liberals have refused to tax Netflix and other foreign, Internet-based companies, just like the Conservatives.

Now that Singh’s government has announced that it would indeed impose a tax on Netflix, it’s clear that this is a controversial issue across the board.

But what does Netflix have to say?

  • We have not made any deals about taxes.
  • Netflix follows tax laws everywhere we operate. Under Canadian law, foreign online services like Netflix aren't required to collect and remit sales tax.

We have not made any deals about taxes,” said Netflix director of global public policy Corie Wright in a blog post.

Our investment was approved under the Investment Canada Act. No tax deals were part of the approval to launch our new Canadian presence. Netflix follows tax laws everywhere we operate. Under Canadian law, foreign online services like Netflix aren’t required to collect and remit sales tax.”

Whether or not Netflix will be taxed in the coming years remains to be seen.

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