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Canadian sales tax for online retail sales


As online shopping continues to grow, more retailers in Canada are looking to e-commerce for new market opportunities. While this can strengthen business, it can also make calculating and collecting sales tax more complex.

Whether selling online or in store, retailers must comply with all federal and provincial sales tax regulations. Collecting sales tax in Canada can be determined by the physical location of a store or operations, or by the delivery location when selling online between provinces. In any case, retailers are obligated to charge sales tax based on where taxable goods are being sold to or delivered.

What are a retailer's sales tax obligations?

Generally, retailers in Canada must register for and collect the goods and services tax (GST) — or harmonized sales tax (HST), where applicable — if sales exceed $30,000 over a span of four calendar quarters. Provincial sales tax (PST) rules depend on specific conditions that vary by province.

Click on each province below to learn more about the sales tax a retailer must collect when selling in or to each region. For information about specific rules, conditions, and exceptions, contact our retail industry team.

Note: This content provides a high-level overview of sales tax rates and does not include all additional conditions, exceptions, and requirements that may apply to each province. Consult a qualified tax professional to ensure your retail business is in compliance.

How can retailers get help with tax compliance?

Staying up to date and compliant with sales tax regulations is crucial — in some cases, a mistake can have serious consequences to your business's bottom line. The BDO retail industry team can help you understand your tax obligations and assess the tax structure for your business. Contact us today.

The information in this publication is current as of September 3, 2019.

This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The publication cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO Canada LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO Canada LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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