Revenu Quebec is getting serious about tax evasion and has launched measures to ensure that taxes and report filings are property handled by the province’s businesses. One area the government is cracking down on is restaurant establishments. New mandatory billing rules come into effect on February 1, 2016 – but note that transitional measures are now in effect.
What is Mandatory Billing?
Mandatory billing is the act of providing bills to patrons. You must do this whether or not you are registered for QST. Revenu Canada politely points out that the bills must be provided “without delay and at all times, not just upon request”. You must also provide bills for delivery, takeout and even if the item is free of charge (nil).
How to Give a Bill
At this point Revenu Canada shows a little humour as they realize providing advice on how restaurants should bill their clients is common sense, but for the sake of clarity and to cover all the angles, the agency gives these handy tips to ensure your patrons receive their bills and urges restaurateurs to take “clear and concrete steps” to get those bills in their client’s hands.
- Hand the patron the bill
- Place the bill on a tray
- Staple the bill to the take out bag or box
- At a bar, place it in a glass and hand the glass to the client
Revenu Canada points out that it is not enough to ask the patron if they need their bill. You are obligated to give it to them.
Does Your Small Business Meet the Criteria?
According to Revenu Quebec, a “restaurant establishment” refers to places where meals are served or catered. The term “restaurant establishment” does not apply to meals served on airplanes and trains, food sold for consumption in bleachers at a sports game, or to bakeries and fish shops, etc. Meals where 90 per cent of the food is tax exempt are also not “restaurant establishments”. These are just a few examples. To see a full list of what Revenu Canada considers a “restaurant establishment,” visit this page.
Using an SRM
Revenu Canada tracks restaurant sales through an SRM, or sales recording module. The SRM, a requirement of the agency, is attached to the ECR (electronic cash register) or POS (point of sale) machine. Each time you print a receipt, the SRM is activated and records the transaction. You will use SRM data to report your sales and billing to Revenu Quebec.
The reports generated by the SRM include: general information, sales summary, transaction analysis, event log summary, sales detail and event log detail.
If your restaurant establishment is exempt from the mandatory SRM requirements, you must still give bills to your customers. Whether written out by hand or on a POS slip, the bill must include:
- The name and address of the restaurant
- The billing date
- The billing number
- List of purchases (each food and drink item)
- The price of each item, even if it is nil
- A pre-tax total
- A total including the taxes
- The GST number
- The QST number
- The amount of GST and QST billed
Get Ready for Mandatory Billing
Make sure you understand your obligations if you own and/or operate a restaurant establishment. AF Accounting can help. We provide accounting services to small businesses to help them understand and comply with Quebec’s tax laws.