Amazon starts charging Sask. shoppers PST, just in time for holidays

When Daniel Coffey started crossing off online Christmas purchases from his loved ones' wish lists last month, he realized that Amazon.ca's once non-existent PST charge had finally made its way onto the bill.

"What I'm noticing is some inconsistencies in where I'm actually being charged the PST," said Coffey, a Saskatoon resident.

The Christmas-only Amazon shopper realized the tax was only charged on some of his orders.

Buyer beware

Coffey started following the online tax saga when he read a previous CBC News article. He became increasingly interested when he noticed the Saskatchewan government asked residents to report their own purchases while Amazon wasn't complying.

"I thought it was a joke," he said. "It seems really silly to me that they would be relying on other people to enforce that model and if they want people to do that, then they have to make it happen."

Coffey said as long as the PST is charged and it's going to the government, he doesn't mind paying the extra cash.

Saskatchewan's Minister of Finance says it won't seek to collect on the PST that wasn't charged prior to Amazon's recent registering to become a collector and remitter of PST proceeds.

"Taxes related to goods shipped into the province prior to Amazon's registration require PST to be self-assessed by the consumer under the PST rules or collected at the border through a federal tax collection agreement," a spokesperson for the ministry said via email.

Confirmed change in taxation

An Amazon.ca representative said Thursday the tax is applied only if the province or territory that the item is shipped to has the applicable tax.

Items ordered from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories are now charged with the provincial sales tax.

According to the Amazon website, if a person orders goods intended for inventory or resale, the products can be exempt from certain provincial sales taxes by contacting Amazon.