The sale of a printed book that has an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a zero-rated sale under the QST system.
Under the GST system, the sale is taxable, and a tax rebate is possible under certain circumstances.
The term “printed book” is not defined in the Act respecting the Québec sales tax. To qualify, an item must have the following characteristics:
- It is an assemblage of a certain number of printed sheets.
- The content of the sheets was reproduced by some or other printing method and consists of characters that are intended to be read.
- The sheets are bound (stitched, glued, stapled or otherwise) and inserted between covers.
If they have an ISBN number and fit the criteria, the following items are printed books, and their sale is zero-rated under the QST system:
- product catalogues
- annual reports and financial statements
- admissions guides of educational institutions
- student yearbooks
- books of sheet music
- conference kits
- activity books (such as colouring books and books of Sudoku puzzles, crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes or connect-the-dot puzzles)
However, even if they have an ISBN number, the following items are not printed books and their sale is taxable:
- ruled notebooks
- accounting books
- downloaded text of conferences
To learn more, see interpretation bulletin TVQ. 198.1-1, Printed Books, on the Publications du Québec website.