In 2015, people treat Netflix like their first born or a sprained ankle – not something to be f*cked with.
Well, despite assurance from all three of Canada’s major political parties that Netflix will indeed remain unf*cked with – including an amusing low-rent video message from our Prime Minister – experts ranging from law to the CRTC are convinced a government-imposed ‘Netflix Tax’ is inevitable.
Before we get into the details, please do yourself the favour of watching Steve’s delightfully perplexing production:
— Stephen Harper (@pmharper) August 5, 2015
For those unfamiliar, the Netflix Tax will likely become our political Benghazi; something no party wants their name to be forced into association with.
Anything that attracts a crowd, of course, is a revenue opportunity, which is why the issue is especially prominent right now. “As digital services become an increasingly important part of the economy, governments will look to the lost revenue and find a way to recoup it,” said University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist. “Frankly, given the trends around the world, it’s something that seems reasonably likely at some point in time.”
Unlike other foreign companies that offer digital services operating in Canada, such as Apple, Netflix currently does not charge customers federal and provincial taxes.
Recent legislation in the European Union that now requires companies to charge local sales tax on digital transactions could also serve as inspiration for Canada to impose the Netflix Tax in the near future. “In the long run, as Netflix starts to pay taxes in Europe, Revenue Canada will hope to do the same,” said former CRTC vice-chairman Michel Arpin.
And honestly, I wouldn’t really be against it – if only to give Stephen “Breaking Bad” Harper’s video the glorious ironic twist it deserves.