City councillor calls for Uber tax probe

Published: July 23, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Callum Micucci

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An outspoken Uber critic and Toronto city councillor fired another shot July 22 at the popular ridesharing company.

Jim Karygiannis, who received almost 10 per cent of his campaign donations from those with ties to the taxi industry, says he has asked the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to investigate the company’s HST records.

“I received a copy of an email between an Uber user and Uber indicating that ‘There is no tax charged on the rides.  We also do not charge and [any] HST,’” said Mr. Karygiannis in a release. 

“I do not understand how any company, operating in Canada, can avoid paying the HST.”

Karygiannis wrote to Andrew Treusch, the commissioner and chief executive officer of the CRA. Part of his letter reads:

“Uber operates in Canada as a Ride sharing company and although the transaction of charging fees for services take place outside Canada the service is been delivered here in Canada … I would ask that you please investigate this matter at your earliest possibility.”

Uber spokeswoman Susie Heath, speaking with CP24, said that Uber pays its own taxes and it’s up to the driver to collect HST from customers and file it on their own.

"Eighty (per cent) of fares for Uber trips go to local and independent driver partners who must file their HST obligations,” Heath wrote in an email to CP24. “As a registered Canadian business, Uber Canada pays all applicable taxes and we regularly communicate to driver partners on how to file their HST as applicable.”

In an article published in April of 2015, the Globe and Mail examined 2014 municipal election expenses, finding that Karygiannis received “at least $7,600 — almost 10 per cent of his campaign funding — from people with ties to the taxi industry,” reads part of the article.

The recent saga of Uber Toronto has seen an attempted court injunction to stop the service, the city issuing dire warnings to Uber drivers and passengers, and undercover police stings.