Merchandise Discounts and Commissions on Certain Sales

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If you sell merchandise to an employee at a reduced price, we do not, as a rule, consider this a taxable benefit, as long as the discount is reasonable under the circumstances. However, the employee receives a taxable benefit in the following situations:

  • If merchandise that is neither outdated nor unfit for sale is purchased from you by the employee at below-cost prices.
  • If you have made a special agreement with the employee or a selected group of employees, allowing for the purchase of merchandise at a discount.

An employee who receives a discount on merchandise from a person other than you is generally not considered to have received a taxable benefit, unless the discount is granted further to an arrangement between you and the vendor of the merchandise.

Example

If the employer and the vendor of the merchandise have an arrangement whereby their respective employees are entitled to discounts at the other employer's business, such a discount constitutes a taxable benefit.

Where the benefit is taxable, its value is equal to the difference between the fair market value (FMV) of the merchandise (including GST and QST) and the price paid by the employee. You have to include the value of the benefit in boxes A, G, I and L of the employee's RL-1 slip (see courtesy translation RL-1-T).

Commissions

Commissions received by salespersons on goods purchased for their personal use do not constitute a taxable benefit. The same rule generally applies to commissions received by life insurance agents for life insurance policies they take out on themselves, provided the agents underwrite the policies and pay the premiums.

However, commissions that life insurance agents receive further to acquiring an annuity contract or a segregated fund policy for investment purposes are taxable. You have to include the value of the benefit in boxes A, G, I and L of the agent's RL-1 slip.

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