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Quebec to tax online streaming giant Netflix with or without federal government

QUEBEC — The Quebec government is confirming it intends to tax Netflix with or without the support of Ottawa.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao tells reporters he has sent a letter to his federal counterpart, Bill Morneau, and has invited the Liberal government to rethink its position to not tax the online-streaming service.

Ottawa has reached an agreement with Netflix that allows the giant to forgo paying sales tax by investing $500 million in Canadian productions over the next five years.

Leitao says Netflix will have to pay provincial sales tax and that its deal with Ottawa gives it an unfair advantage over Quebec-based companies that offer similar services.

The Quebec finance minister says he doesn’t need Ottawa’s permission to forge ahead but that he still needs to inform the federal government because the province’s sales tax is harmonized with the federal GST.

Leitao intends to introduce the measure as of 2018.

Last month, all Quebec political parties voted unanimously in favour of a motion to ensure the provincial sales tax is quickly imposed on all foreign companies that offer products and services online, notably in the cultural sector.

The Canadian Press

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