August 10, 2022

The previous few of yrs has observed solid progress in the electronic media sectors, which contain digital online video written content, downloaded or streamed digital songs, electronic online games and electronically released content material. As electronic products can now very easily be delivered to any spot in the planet, a lot of European businesses are developing their buyer foundation on other continents. The Canadian digital media market place, which is the next greatest in North The us, offers a promising profits option as it is projected to reach $6.48 billion in 2022.

EU firms that deliver digital solutions to Canadian prospects could come across on their own confronted with a number of tax registration and selection obligations in Canada. The Canadian tax method is significantly more complicated than the one in the EU as it is made up of a combination of federal and provincial taxes.

The products and companies tax (GST) applies nationally. Five provinces—New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island—have coordinated their provincial gross sales taxes with the GST to put into practice the harmonized gross sales tax (HST), which operates in the same way as the GST. Separate provincial sales taxes are collected in British Columbia, Manitoba, Québec and Saskatchewan. 4 provinces—Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon—do not apply any provincial income tax (PST).

The federal authorities and all the provinces that levy a independent PST have enacted particular principles imposing tax collection obligations on international vendors of digital providers. The scope of these laws differs noticeably.


From July 1, 2021, nonresident sellers providing products and services and intangibles to Canadian individuals have to register for GST/HST if their profits to unregistered Canadian purchasers above a 12-thirty day period period of time, excluding income manufactured by an on the net market, exceed or are envisioned to exceed 30,000 Canadian pounds ($23,287). International sellers are not essential to cost GST/HST on product sales to Canadian consumers who are registered under the standard GST/HST regime and have offered their registration quantity.

The scope of the federal laws is wide and incorporates all taxable provides of intangible private house or companies. Examples of products and products and services protected by the nexus legislation involve movie or music streaming, cellular apps, e-textbooks, online video clip gaming, and conventional providers these as authorized and accounting.

The tax fee to be charged relies upon on the spot of the customer:

  • 5% (GST) in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Québec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon
  • 13% (HST) in Ontario and
  • 15% (HST) in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

The Canada Profits Company gives in depth steerage on how to decide the area of the buyer, getting into account numerous indicators.

There are also particular guidelines for distribution platform operators and digital lodging platforms.

The definition of “distribution platform operator” is wide and addresses any particular person (other than the provider) who controls or sets the crucial things of the transaction amongst the supplier and the receiver, or is involved in accumulating, receiving or charging the thought for the source and transmitting all or element of the thing to consider to the provider (payment processors are explicitly excluded). If a transaction is facilitated by an on the net distribution system, the vendor does not have any GST/HST obligations.

British Columbia

In September 2015, British Columbia launched a prerequisite for non-Canadian sellers of products to sign-up and accumulate 7% PST if they acknowledged orders from individuals in British Columbia and had inventory in British Columbia at the time of the sale.

In April 2021, these registration and collection requirements were expanded to deal with overseas providers of software program and telecommunication expert services whose gross earnings from all taxable and exempt product sales of computer software and telecommunication expert services to British Columbia consumers was extra than 10,000 Canadian pounds in the previous 12 months or is envisioned to exceed that volume in the subsequent 12 months.

Furthermore, for program to be topic to PST, it have to be ordered for use on or with an digital gadget that is ordinarily located in British Columbia, as established by the billing or IP deal with. If a nonresident vendor does not demand PST mainly because the customer’s digital product is not ordinarily positioned in British Columbia, they have to keep proof to present why they did not collect PST.

Specified the broad definitions of computer software or telecommunication providers, the tax selection need applies to a broad variety of electronic merchandise and providers.

Telecommunication products and services involve the proper to entry, look at and download videos, songs or audiobooks. If a service service provider expenses subscribers for accessibility to a web site, the application of PST depends on the content material of the web-site. If the website written content is composed of nontaxable things, these as digital guides and text-only content articles, no PST is charged. If a purchaser purchases entry to a web page that supplies them with the capability to make use of some diploma of performance over and above simply viewing internet site articles, these as the functionality to manipulate documents or develop new files, the customer is not paying for a telecommunication company but a correct to accessibility computer software. The “software” classification includes subscriptions to on-line video online games, accessibility to on the internet photograph or video clip enhancing tools and most cloud computing services.

Solutions to software—testing, set up, repair—are usually exempt from PST. If the client is obliged to invest in a program upkeep arrangement as aspect of a invest in of taxable software, they have to spend PST on the maintenance solutions as the upkeep settlement types element of the invest in value of the taxable program.

There are also many other exemptions that may use to product sales of software and telecommunication companies.

For instance, this sort of products and services are exempt from PST if they are presented to a purchaser as part of the purchaser’s participation in an academic plan delivered by a qualifying university or other academic establishment. And, as in other provinces, if a customer supplies the vendor with their PST selection or a certification of exemption to show that they are acquiring items or companies for resale, the seller does not have to demand PST.

Productive July 1, 2022, marketplace facilitators have to demand and gather PST on:

  • taxable revenue of goods that are found inside of Canada at the time of the sale and are offered to a individual in British Columbia
  • program for use on or with an digital machine ordinarily positioned in British Columbia
  • provision of lodging in British Columbia and
  • any other taxable providers that they facilitate by their on the net marketplace if the gross benefit of retail sales that they produced or facilitated in the preceding 12 months was greater than 10,000 Canadian dollars or is envisioned to exceed this amount in the up coming 12 months.

The new guidelines reduce market sellers of the prerequisite to register and to accumulate tax exactly where the market facilitator is obliged to do so. Having said that, market sellers keep on being jointly and severally liable for any PST not collected and remitted by the market facilitator.

The new principles also deem as taxable numerous of the solutions furnished by market facilitators to their sellers, these types of as customer guidance, marketing, storage, listing of merchandise. The application of PST to these companies contrasts with the online market procedures in Saskatchewan and Manitoba the place these varieties of companies are typically not viewed as taxable beneath their respective PST guidelines.


Considering the fact that 2002, companies situated exterior of Manitoba that do not carry out small business in the province have to register and obtain retail profits tax (RST) of 7% if they:

  • lead to tangible own home to be shipped in Manitoba
  • solicit orders for items in Manitoba and
  • settle for orders that originate in Manitoba.

Manitoba applies a broad definition of tangible personal home that features software program shipped by electronic indicates.

Powerful Dec. 1, 2021, Manitoba expanded its taxing authority in regard of sales of electronic companies manufactured by out-of-province sellers. Any one who operates an on the web accommodation platform, online product sales platform, or offers streaming companies will have to be registered to collect RST.

A streaming support is outlined as a telecommunication company that consists of the right—whether exercised or not—to download, see, or access by suggests of an electronic unit audio and movie content, excluding audiobooks. As the steerage presented by the tax administration does not point out any economic nexus thresholds for out-of-province sellers, they should be registered as from the to start with sale.

The scope of the RST assortment obligation is narrower than that less than GST/HST guidelines. Quite a few digital products and companies that are taxable below GST/HST—cloud-computing providers that require no downloading of any software package, audiobooks, e-books, personalized program, world wide web-primarily based training—are not subject to RST.

The assistance supplied by the tax administration clarifies that if a individual in Manitoba just accesses software package mounted on a server situated outside the house Manitoba, the applicable fees to the human being in Manitoba are not matter to RST. Even so, if the computer software is downloaded to a Manitoba computer for the person’s use, the expenses for use of the software are subject to RST.

If the RST has been collected and remitted by the platform operator, the seller has no RST-associated obligation in regard of that sale. Similarly, if a purchaser delivers the seller with their RST range or a certificate of exemption indicating that he is buying items or companies for resale, the seller does not have to cost RST.


In Might 2018, Saskatchewan finalized improvements to its PST laws to make clear that corporations that do not have on business in Saskatchewan, but make retail revenue of tangible own residence and taxable products and services in the province, have to sign up and acquire the PST if the items or companies are acquired for use or consumption in Saskatchewan. This need applies to a range of electronic items, these kinds of as digital audio and movie downloads, software program, computer software services and cloud-centered expert services. Items that are exempt in Saskatchewan—e-textbooks, audiobooks and world-wide-web-based mostly training—do not bring in PST when they are furnished by nonresidents.

There is no financial nexus threshold for nonresidents in Saskatchewan, this means that PST of 6% wants to be collected as from the very first transaction.

In July 2021, Saskatchewan enacted a new regulation extending the registration and tax assortment necessities to out-of-province electronic distribution platforms, on the net lodging platforms and marketplace facilitators. The new policies used with retroactive result to Jan. 1, 2020.

An digital distribution platform features web sites, web portals and apps that enable buyers or end users to acquire tangible own home and services that are delivered via an digital format.

A marketplace facilitator is a person who will make or facilitates a marketplace for retail profits by market sellers, specifically or indirectly collects payment from a consumer or user, and remits payment to a marketplace vendor. If a nonresident vendor takes advantage of an on line platform to sell to Saskatchewan citizens, they are not required to sign-up if the market operator collects PST on income that it facilitates.


Québec prolonged the application of its sales tax (QST) to international companies of electronic providers in January 2019. Its financial nexus guidelines have a very broad scope and impose a tax assortment obligation in respect of all supplies of intangible own home and companies made by nonresident sellers to Québec buyers.

Just before the legislation took effect, Québec individuals experienced to self-assess QST in respect of the acquisition of products and services and incorporeal movable house provided outside of Canada. Nevertheless, there was a reduced degree of compliance with this necessity.

The obligation for international sellers to sign-up and cost 9.975% QST is activated on the to start with working day of the calendar thirty day period for the duration of which the threshold of 30,000 Canadian dollars has been exceeded. This threshold features the benefit of all taxable materials of products and services and intangible personal property built in Québec to a recipient who fairly can be deemed a consumer in a 12-thirty day period period.

A individual can’t be regarded a Québec customer if the offer is created purely for small business reasons, these types of as the acquire of organization software package, or to a man or woman who is QST registered. A single piece of proof, these types of as a billing handle, IP tackle, or payment-similar financial institution details, is ample to conclude that the customer is positioned in Québec. Even so, the moment they register and start collecting QST, they should collect two pieces of noncontradictory proof to ensure their customers’ place.

If the seller takes advantage of an on-line system to sell intangible home and expert services to Québec people, the platform is topic to the QST registration, and collection needs in the put of the nonresident supplier. The seller will have no QST-connected obligations in respect of income facilitated by the platform.

Practical Considerations

EU companies advertising digital products and services to Canadian shoppers may end up owning 5 distinctive tax registrations if they exceed the pertinent federal and provincial economic nexus thresholds. As the threshold calculation in Canada is centered on a seller’s gross revenue from a consecutive 12-month interval and not from the prior calendar calendar year, a vendor not meeting the earnings threshold requirement must verify every month regardless of whether an obligation to sign up for federal GST/HST, QST or British Columbia PST occurs.

Nonresidents offering into Canada will need to figure out where their Canadian shoppers are situated as both equally the taxability of solutions and the tax prices may perhaps fluctuate by province.

The federal GST/HST and QST have the broadest scope and utilize to all electronic items and expert services.

Provincial product sales taxes are a lot narrower in scope. Examples of electronic solutions that are subject matter to various taxability guidelines contain audiobooks (taxable in all places other than Manitoba RST and Saskatchewan PST), downloadable custom made software package (taxable almost everywhere except Manitoba RST and British Columbia PST) and internet-based education (taxable almost everywhere other than the provincial profits taxes of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia).

All Canadian jurisdictions now have marketplace facilitator regulations in put. This is a great simplification for international sellers, as such policies necessarily mean that they have no tax selection and registration obligations in regard of product sales facilitated by online marketplaces.

This post does not necessarily mirror the belief of The Bureau of Countrywide Affairs, Inc., the publisher of Bloomberg Regulation and Bloomberg Tax, or its proprietors. 

The thoughts expressed in this posting are those of the author and do not automatically replicate the views of any organizations with which the writer is affiliated.

Creator Info

Aleksandra Bal is oblique tax technological know-how & operation lead at Stripe.