Netflix now charging Sask. customers PST for streaming service

Saskatchewan is joining Quebec in collecting provincial sales tax on Netflix subscriptions, starting this year.

6% provincial sales tax charge started this month, after province introduced change in an act last year

Pictured is the exterior of Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif. The streaming service is charging Saskatchewan customers PST, starting Jan. 1, 2019. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Saskatchewan has joined Quebec in collecting provincial sales tax on Netflix subscriptions, with the extra charges starting at the beginning of this month.

The province introduced the change in an act last year. Under the change to the Provincial Sales Tax Regulations, Saskatchewan can collect the tax from businesses not based in the province, provided the goods or services are used or consumed here.

That would include any "transmission, broadcast or distribution of data, programming or entertainment," according to the act.

Netflix confirmed it began charging customers of its streaming service the six per cent sales tax starting Jan. 1, 2019.

Jim Billington, press secretary to Premier Scott Moe, said in a statement that several vendors that provide TV and streaming services — including SaskTel, Shaw and Spotify Canada — also collect PST from their customers.

"The move by Netflix is positive in terms of establishing an example of equity among vendors providing TV programming and streaming services," read the statement.

Netflix has lobbied hard to avoid facing taxes, but says it pays all taxes where it is required to do so by law. 

Quebec was the first province to introduce a tax on Netflix back in 2018, saying e-commerce tax losses were once considered marginal, but had come to represent more significant sums of lost revenue.

Netflix customers are charged 9.975 per cent sales tax for use of the service in Quebec. 

The federal government has so far chosen not to pursue GST on Netflix services. It has, however, pushed for the streaming service to include more Canadian content, similar to requirements placed on traditional broadcasters.


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