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Public law (or restitutionary) remedies are usually relied on as a last resort by taxpayers facing CRA assessments. They are last resorts because they are only available in exceptional circumstances, and the CRA almost never applies them, while the Courts rarely apply them.

One interesting historic restitutionary remedy, first established by the Supreme Court in Kingstreet Investments Ltd. v. New Brunswick (Finance)– and now called the “Kingstreet” remedy – allows a taxpayer the right to recover the taxes levied under unconstitutional legislation which before Kingstreet was doomed to fail under a claim for unjust enrichment against Crown.

The Federal Court in Canadian Pacific Railway Company v. Canada (“CPRC”) had the opportunity to consider this special remedy, and underlines its limited application: only being triggered when a tax charged by a government is constitutionally ultra virus (i.e., by virtue of unlawful legislation), and not triggered because of some unlawful government administrative actions!  

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The FCA has ruled against the Bank of Montreal (“BMO”) (2021 FCA 189) in its challenge of the Minister’s decision to deny BMO’s input tax credit (“ITC”) allocation methodology under section 141.02(18) of the Excise Tax Act. This will likely be bad news for certain institutions that elect to use their own methods for allocating ITCs within complex corporate groups.

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As with have blogged about many times in the past (see here, here, here, and here), one of the most misunderstood areas of the law around corporate directors is the concept of director’s liability for the corporation’s unremitted tax.

Several recent cases in our practice have reminded us of the critical importance of these rules and how all directors can benefit from a refresher of their basic structure.

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Quebec has special rules regarding the mandatory disclosure of “nominee agreements” (which are essentially the Quebec civil law equivalent of undisclosed agency agreements) where the agreement is made as part of a transaction or series of transactions that have “tax consequences”.

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We previously blogged about a Tax Court of Canada (TCC) case on the tax status of credit card/payment processing services provided by Visa. In that case, the TCC held that Visa’s services constituted the supply of “administrative services” and were therefore excluded from the definition of a “financial service” in subsection 123(1) of the Excise Tax Act (ETA).

 

The Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) has now reversed the TCC decision, holding that Visa’s services were in fact exempt financial services.

 

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