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Part of our Customs, Trade & Indirect Tax Practice is dealing with matters arising out of Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering legislation (more formally, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the “Act”), and the Canadian governmental entity that is charged with enforcement activities in this area:  the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (“FINTRAC”).

How does the FINTRAC system work?

FINTRAC allows Canada to monitor the financial transactions for purposes of attempting to identify illegal activities, prevent money laundering, and the financing of terrorist organizations.  

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We have blogged here and here about the real estate projects that the CRA is currently working on, usually resulting in assessments of GST/HST on sales of renovated homes or short-term rental housing.

In a recent Tax Court case involving Cheema, the CRA was permitted to open up statue-barred periods in order to assess a homeowner for taxable income generated from a short-term purchase and resale of a house in Calgary.  This case serves as a warning for taxpayers in similar situations: treating housing like “inventory” to produce gains will result in CRA assessments even many years later, making Voluntary Disclosures the only viable strategy for addressing past exposure.

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When a specialty tax practice like our own, focussed on GST/HST and other indirect taxes, sees a plethora of inquiries from homeowners being either assessed by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) on the sale of their homes, or threatened with such assessments, we know that something is up!

As we have previously written, the CRA continues targeting residential homeowners. Specifically, those who have sold their home in a short period of time after: (1) substantially renovating; or (2) commissioning the construction of a new home for their own use.

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