Revenue Quebec collects $160M in tax-evasion crackdown

Revenue Quebec says it collected an additional $160 million in sales taxes since mandating restaurants to install sales-recording modules last year.
Sales recording modules have been mandatory for most of Quebec's restaurant sector since Nov. 2011. (CBC)

Revenue Quebec announced today that it collected an additional $160 million in sales taxes since forcing restaurants to install sales-recording modules in the fall of 2011.

Otherwise known as SRMs, the machines became mandatory for the majority of restaurants and food providers on Nov. 1, 2011. The goal was meant to reduce revenue losses due to tax evasion in the restaurant sector, which in 2008-2009 were estimated at $420 million.

"To date, nearly 33,000 SRMs have been installed in more than 19,000 restaurant establishments in Quebec," said Revenue Quebec spokeswoman Andrée-Anne Stewart.

At least $2.3 billion are expected to be recuperated by 2018-2019, representing $300 million annually.

Revenue Quebec conducted 15,956 inspections across the province between Sept. 1, 2010 and Oct. 31, 2012, which resulted in 1,433 warnings, 3,765 statements of offence and over $1.3 million in fines.

Fines for restaurants that haven’t complied with Revenue Quebec’s mandatory billing policy or that haven’t installed SRMs range from $2,000 to $100,000.

Stewart said Revenue Quebec is considering implementing SRMs in other sectors where receipts are not routinely provided to customers.

"Every sector where there is tax evasion is interesting for Revenue Quebec," she said.