Collecting QST on online sales: The CPA Order applauds the Quebec government’s position

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Montreal, November 8, 2017 – The Quebec CPA Order applauds the position of the Quebec government regarding the collection of QST on online sales, as stated by Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, in a letter to his federal counterpart, Bill Morneau.

Online shopping was a fringe phenomenon just a few years ago but is now experiencing dramatic growth. Retail has entered the virtual realm, and has shifted from the local sphere to the global one. This new business model, though attractive to consumers, is putting pressure on—and even threatening—the ability of governments to collect sales taxes.

Uncollected QST on Quebec residents’ online purchases from suppliers outside Quebec represents a growing annual shortfall, which Revenu Québec evaluated at $177 million in 2014-2015. There is no reason to deprive the province of this revenue, which could not only fund public services, but also boost Quebec’s tax competitiveness.

Furthermore, this situation is a flagrant injustice for Quebec’s many retailers and businesses, as businessman Peter Simons recently pointed out. For this reason, the Order would like the government to address the issue in a comprehensive manner. The Order also hopes that, as it recommended last year, the solutions put forward will cover not only intangible goods and services, but also material goods.

“Tax policies need to evolve with economic and technological change,” said Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Order. “Citizens are right to expect their tax system to be fair to all Quebec taxpayers, and not unduly favour foreign companies to the detriment of local ones.” 

Finally, while it supports a coordinated Canadian approach on this issue, the CPA Order encourages the Quebec government to move ahead in the absence of an agreement with other governments, in accordance with the principle of provincial fiscal autonomy.

About the Quebec CPA Order 
The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 39,000 members and 5,000 future CPAs, making it the third-largest professional order in Quebec. The Order ensures the protection of the public and the visibility of the profession. It represents all areas of expertise of the accounting profession: assurance, financial accounting, management and management accounting, finance and taxation.

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Jean-Louis Laplante
Manager, Public Affairs 
Quebec CPA Order 
T. 514 288.3256 [3024]  1 800 363.4688

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