On March 28, 2017, Finance Minister Carlos Leitão tabled the Québec budget for 2017-2018. Entitled “A Budget for Today and Tomorrow: Immediate Benefits for All and Investment in our Future”, this financial plan continues to accomplish the government’s objective of balancing the provincial budget for the foreseeable future.
Except for one minor measure, the budget does not introduce any specific commodity tax changes, though it does propose a few other tax initiatives, including a general personal tax rate reduction and new measures and credits designed to help Québec families and businesses. The government has also extended the compensation tax for financial institutions for an additional five years.
The Fight Against Tax Evasion
As in previous budgets, the Government of Québec reiterated its commitment to continue the fight against tax evasion. In particular, it announced that these measures have yielded additional revenues during 2015-2016 of approximately $181 million in the illicit tobacco sector, $73 million in unreported work in the construction sector, and $61 million related to illicit alcohol sales. The government also announced that, during 2015-2016, the fight against tax evasion resulted in approximately $32 million in revenues stemming from their efforts against organized crime, and $13 million from general unreported work.
Sales Recording Modules in the Remunerated Passenger Transportation Sector
As part of the province’s efforts to further crack down on tax evasion, the Act respecting the Québec sales tax will be amended to include a requirement for those in the remunerated passenger transportation sector (such as taxi or Uber drivers) to issue a bill to customers, beginning at the end of 2019. To help enforce this provision, the government will require remunerated passenger vehicles to be equipped with a sales recording module that will be able to deliver real time sales and vehicle operation information to Revenu Québec.
Improving the Performance and Efficiency of Revenu Québec
To improve both the quality of its relationship with taxpayers and its overall efficiency, the government has proposed changes that will allow small businesses with ten or fewer employees to contest decisions before the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec, and permit these courts to hear cases involving disputes of up to $15,000 (previously, the limit was $4,000 for individuals).
Revenu Québec also intends to increase the size of its regional offices, notably its Chandler office, as a means of improving service quality. Plans were also announced to increase staff by more than 570 employees, in order to reduce criminal and penal case processing times.
Further information on Quebec’s 2017 budget can be found on the province’s website at:
If you have any questions about how any of these proposed or impending changes might impact your organization, please do not hesitate to call the Ryan TaxDirectTM line at 1-800-667-1600.