Tax alert

Will you have to pay a new tax on your luxury items?

Sep 15, 2022
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Federal tax Business tax

On Sept. 1, 2022, the Select Luxury Items Tax Act (the Luxury Tax Act), a part of Bill C-19, came into force. The Luxury Tax Act imposes a tax (the Luxury Tax) on the sale and import of certain vehicles, aircraft, and vessels (collectively referred to as subject items) exceeding a specified price threshold.

Application

The Luxury Tax applies to the supply and sale of subject items in Canada exceeding the threshold of $100,000 for vehicles and aircraft and $250,000 for vessels. However, not all vehicles, aircraft and vessels exceeding these thresholds are captured by the Luxury Tax. There is an exemption for subject aircraft and some subject vessels that are used at least 90% of the time for certain qualifying purposes, which are designed to encompass purposes other than leisure, recreation, sport or other enjoyment of the owner or their guests.  

The amount of the Luxury Tax is the lesser of (i) 10% of the total “taxable amount” of a subject item, or (ii) 20% of the amount by which the taxable amount of a subject item exceeds the Luxury Tax threshold ($100,000 or $250,000). In the case of the sale of the subject item, the taxable amount generally consists of the consideration and any amount paid for the improvements. Similarly, when imported, the taxable amount is the sum of the value of the subject item as determined under the Customs Act and the amount of any duties and taxes (other than the GST/HST) that is payable upon importation. Any modifications made to the subject items within 12 months of purchase may also be subject to self-assessment of the tax where certain conditions are met. Accessibility modifications are generally excluded. 

The Luxury Tax is generally payable by the vendor at the point of sale, except in situations where the vendor is a federal or provincial government or agency, an indigenous governing body or a diplomat, the purchaser must pay the tax. 

Registered Vendors

Under the Luxury Tax Act, ‘registered vendors’ are those that, in the course of their business activities, manufacture, wholesale, retail or import subject items priced over the thresholds. 

Specifically, a person that is required to register as a registered vendor of a luxury item must apply with the CRA by the earlier of:

  • The day the sale is completed, where a sale first triggers the requirement to register, and
  • The day the subject item is accounted for in accordance with the Customs Act, where an importation first triggers the requirement to register.

Hovever, a registered vendor can purchase subject item(s) from another registered vendor in regards to the same type of select good without any Luxury Tax obligation. To avail this exemption, the purchaser needs to provide an exemption certificate to the seller.

In contrast, non-registered persons, i.e., individual consumers, that acquire or import subject items for their personal use or enjoyment are also required to pay the Luxury Tax and should fulfill the reporting requirements stated below.  

Reporting requirements 

Under most circumstances, the reporting periods under the Luxury Tax are calendar quarters. Registered vendors are required to file a Luxury Tax return with the CRA for each reporting period. On the other hand, non-registered vendors are required to file the return only for the reporting period(s) where they have Luxury Tax payable. The Luxury Tax return must specify the total Luxury Tax payable for the particular reporting period. Returns are due at the end of the month following the quarterly reporting period. The first reporting period is Sept. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022, and hence, the first return is due Jan. 31, 2023.

If there is an amount of Luxury Tax owing for a particular reporting period, the taxpayer is required to pay that amount to the Receiver General on (or before) the same day that the related return is required to be filed with the CRA. The payment must be made electronically if the amount to be paid exceeds $10,000.

RSM contributors

  • Sigita Bersenas
    Senior Associate
  • Chetna Thapar
    Supervisor
  • Clara Pham
    Partner
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