Quebec's Gift Card Legislation and the Solidarity Tax Credit

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Some interesting (somewhat) new legislation from Quebec's Consumer Protection Act regarding gift cards eliminating expiry dates and requiring refunds of amounts under $5.  And a new (but old) tax credit from Revenue Quebec, requiring eligible taxpayers to sign up for direct deposit.

Quebec Gift Cards Legislation

In June, 2010 Quebec's Consumer Protection Act implemented legislation designed to protect purchasers of gift cards.  Under the new rules,  merchants that offer gift cards: 

  • Cannot put an expiry date on the cards even if nothing of value was exchanged for the card.  This applies to cards issued as part of promotion or loyalty program
  • Cannot charge for the issuance OR use of the card, with limited exceptions
  • Must refund balances of $5 or less if requested by the holder of the card

Other rules can be found (in French) at the Consumer Protection Office.  This bulletin also provides details in English and some insight into the new rules.

Solidarity Tax Credit

In March31, 2010, Quebec introduced the (interestingly named) Solidarity Tax Credit which essentially combines the following tax credits: 

  • QST Credit
  • Property tax refund
  • Credit for individuals living in Northern villages 

The credit will now be paid monthly, however in order to be paid you must be registered for direct deposit.  The credit takes effect and first payments will be made on July 1st, 2011, so Revenue Quebec is trying to get individuals (many of whom have already received somewhat ominous looking letters) not already signed up, to register for direct deposit.

Registration can be done online, by filling out a form or mailing a blank voided cheque with your name and SIN.  

Individuals eligible for the SDC include Quebec residents who are older than 18 and are not in prison.

The credit is usually claimed via your income tax return, however if you are a new resident in Quebec you may claim it by filling out form TP-1029.CS.1-V.

Common law and married couples can only file one claim.

Of course if you leave Quebec, go to prison, separate from your spouse (for more than 90 days), among other things, you must advise Revenue Quebec by filling out form  (form TP-1029.CS.3-V)

For further information consult Revenue Quebec's website

Online Revenue Quebec services relating to the solidarity tax credit.

Additional resources for small business owners can be found in our Small Business and Tax FAQ section

Ronika Khanna is a Montreal based accountant who helps small businesses achieve their financial goals.  To receive regular updates of articles pertaining to small business, accounting, tax and other topics of interest to business owners you can sign up here.  You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter.