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Streaming sites take a hit with tax included in B.C.’s 2020 budget

Last Updated Feb 18, 2020 at 2:27 pm PDT

This March 19, 2018 photo shows the Netflix app on an iPad in Baltimore.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Patrick Semansky

Streaming your favourite shows will start to cost you a little more in B.C. this summer

Starting July 1, streaming services like Netflix will be charged a provincial sales tax

The change will apply to any software or telecommunication service if their specified B.C. revenues exceed $10,000

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Get ready to pay a little bit more to stream your favourite shows in B.C.

Starting July 1, 2020, new requirements will mean any foreign seller of software and telecommunication – including services like Netflix – will be required to register as tax collectors if their revenues exceed $10,000 in B.C.

“These requirements will result in provincial sales tax being collected by a greater number of businesses in the digital economy,” the province said.

Within the budget, this new tax is buried in the document.

It’s a move the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says will result in $16 million per year.

“Any audio/visual that originates outside Canada and does more than $10,000 worth of business, something like Netflix, you’re now going to be paying a special tax on that streaming service,” Kris Sims, the B.C. director of the CTF, said. “That means that when you’re sitting there binging on the couch after a long day of working and paying taxes, you’re paying more taxes.”

She noted while this tax isn’t completely new elsewhere, it is for B.C.

“Interestingly, the threshold to have this kick in in Quebec is $30,000. Here? They’ve got it lower, it’s $10,000. They’re hitting pretty much everybody.”

Sims believes the manner by which this new tax is included in the budget is “sneaky,” mainly because of what it’s name.

“It’s called registration requirements expanded,” Sims added. “That is literally the paragraph where they explain this new streaming services tax.”

The CTF believes the province should have let taxpayers know about the tax sooner, and that they should have been more forthcoming about it.

“A lot of people really like their shows and they like their streaming services, and the idea that they have to pay just one more tax, it hurts,” she said.

-With files from Liza Yuzda