Destination Cape Breton was designated the official destination marketing organization for Cape Breton Island by the five municipalities on the Island in 2011-12. This corresponded with the establishment of the Cape Breton Island Marketing Levy, which provided the majority of the resources to fund the promotion of the Island as a tourism destination.
In January 2024, the Cape Breton Island Marketing Levy is set to increase from 2% to 3%. The levy will be charged on all fixed-roof accommodations and include short-term rentals like Airbnb, VRBO, etc. that are registered under the Tourist Accommodations Registration Act.
This change was initiated by new province-wide legislation for levies that allows municipalities to generate revenue to attract tourists to their communities.
For more information: Marketing Levy Changes on Track for January 2024
Yes. As of 1 April 2023, changes to tourist accommodations registration regulations came into effect. Under the changes, most tourist accommodations need to register with the Tourist Accommodations Registry, including tourist accommodations in a primary residence or attached to a primary residence.
A new Marketing Levy reporting and remitting platform is currently in development. This new online platform will simplify the process for accommodation providers and allow for online remittance of levies collected. More information on the platform will be provided soon.
The Marketing Levy applies to ALL fixed-roof, tourism accommodations within the boundaries of the five municipalities on Cape Breton Island, as required to be registered under the Nova Scotia Tourism Accommodation Registration Act. By law, tourist accommodations must register to operate in Nova Scotia if they provide short-term accommodations for 28 days in a row or less. Examples of tourist accommodations that need to be registered include:
For more information, go to: https://tourismns.ca/accommodation-registry-information.
A 3% Marketing Levy must be collected on the purchase price of all accommodations.
It’s important that you make clear on any receipt or bill provided to a guest:
The Marketing Levy should not be charged on exempt purchases, such as meals. If you offer packaged accommodations with meals and other specialized services included, then you must remit the levy on the purchase price of accommodations offered without these specialized inclusions. Please note that the Marketing Levy must be collected regardless of the payment method for accommodations. That is, if the guest pays in cash, installments or otherwise, the levy is still applicable.
If the Marketing Levy applies to your business, you must register with your applicable municipality.
After registration, you will be assigned a unique Registration Number (RN) that will be important to include and reference in all communication with the municipality regarding your business. You will also be assigned a registration certificate. The registration certificate must be visibly displayed so accommodation guests can view the certificate and understand what they are being charged.
As of January 2024, the Marketing Levy rate to be charged by accommodation providers is 3% of the purchase price of the accommodation. Please note: The Marketing Levy is NOT exempt from HST, so the Levy must be applied before the tax. The levy will be charged on all fixed-roof accommodations and include short-term rentals like Airbnb, VRBO, etc. that are registered under the Tourist Accommodations Registration Act.
A database of accommodations required to remit is held by each municipality on Cape Breton Island. A failure to remit on time may result in interest accumulated on overdue remittances. The interest charged to overdue remittances is 4% above the prime rate. Additionally, a failure to remit may also result in a municipal conviction. A first conviction includes a fine that falls between $500 – $1000 and a second subsequent conviction includes a fine that falls between $1500 and $5000.
You are required to maintain records of accounts and documents that can show sales of accommodation (exempt and non-exempt), levy collected and remittance. These records must be kept for 6 years and each municipality has the right to inspect or audit these records with written notice.
All guests who stay in fixed-roof accommodations must pay the levy, unless they fit into one of the exempted categories. The Marketing Levy is subject to HST.
Exemptions to paying the Marketing Levy include: