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One of the more notable differences between Income Tax and GST/HST is that for GST/HST purposes partnerships are expressly defined to be “persons” – separate from the partners of the partnership.  Most provincial sales tax statues take the same approach and define partnerships to be separate legal persons.  However, this is not the case in British Columbia (“BC”), which is the sole Canadian jurisdiction that does not treat partnerships as persons for Provincial Sales Tax (“PST”) purposes.

This could change as the BC Ministry of Finance (the “Ministry”) has released a Consultation Paper seeking feedback on proposed legislative changes to bring BC in line with the rest of Canada.  Subject to public support, the Ministry has identified four legislative or regulatory changes which would be required:

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When one feels mistreated at the border by Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) officers, can one really do anything about it? The answer is “yes”, because the CBSA can be held indirectly liable for negligence as well as Charter breaches (through its officers). 

As a recent case demonstrates, the road to judgement will usually be long and difficult and perhaps reserved for only the most egregious of cases, or where the matter is one of principle.  Extreme facts will generally be required to make out a negligence claim against government departments like the CBSA, and inappropriately short limitations periods exist for bringing these suits.

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Export Controls Overview

Canada’s “export control laws” under the Import and Export Permits Act place “controls” on the export of certain sensitive goods, technology and data. This ranges from basic goods of economic interest, to military, nuclear and strategic goods (famously described as “sharp and pointy things that go bang”). Underlying technology, information and know-how are also controlled as are “dual-use” goods. 

Goods subject to export control are set out in Canada’s Export Control List (ECL), which requires experience to apply. This is magnified by the complexity of the fact that:  (1) all U.S.- origin goods and technology are controlled (because of Canada’s bilateral commitments), and (2) all goods are controlled when sent to countries on the Area Control List (ACL).

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On November 14, 2023, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) issued a notice that it was beginning an expiry review in respect of cold-rolled steel originating in or exported from the People’s Republic of China (“China”), the Republic of Korea (“South Korea”), and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”). On November 15th CBSA similarly gave notice of the initiation of their parallel expiry review investigation.

The CITT more specifically described the Subject Goods as:

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As we blogged about here, experienced indirect tax practitioners will know to always check section 154 of the Excise Tax Act (“ETA”) when dealing with provincial taxes and to think about whether the that provincial tax is excluded from the “consideration” for the supply. If the provincial tax is not excluded, it means that GST will be applied on top of the provincial tax — in effect meaning there will be tax (GST) on the tax (provincial sales tax).

The most recent issue of the CRA Excise and GST/HST News explained how the GST applies on top of British Columbia’s Major Events Municipal and Regional District Tax ( “Major Events Tax” or “MET”) and serves as another example of this principle in practice.

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A common theme of our direct selling blogs is that direct selling businesses should pay close attention to the wording of their key documents (compensation plans, contracts, and policies and procedures, etc.) to ensure that plan participants are properly characterized as independent contractors and not as employees.

While not in a direct selling context, a recent decision at the Tax Court of Canada serves as a cautionary tale for businesses that fail to examine the details of their documents – their workers may be characterized contrary to their intentions!

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On October 27, 2023, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) issued a notice of conclusion of Expedited Review in respect of certain Chinese upholstered domestic seating (“UDS”) from Eterno Co. Ltd. (“Eterno”) and Zhe Jiang Shengli Furniture Co., Ltd. (“Shengli”) (the “Exporters”). 

Background

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (the “CITT”) concluded an Investigation into certain UDS from China and Vietnam, and issued a Finding on September 2, 2021 that the dumping and subsidizing of said UDS had caused injury to the domestic (Canadian) industry, resulting in the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties subject to exclusions and inclusions specifically identified by CBSA. 

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All taxpayers under audit should be aware of both the scope and limitations of Canada Revenue Agency’s audit powers, as well as the consequence of failing to respond to a CRA Auditor’s valid request for documents or information.

The Federal Cout decisions in Canada v. Money Stop Ltd. (2013 FC 133), and Canada v. Money Stop Ltd. (2013 FC 684) are poignant reminders that ignoring the demands of a CRA auditor may land the Director(s) of the Corporation in prison!

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Georgian Bay Leisure Distributors Ltd., 2022 CanLII 139059 (CA CITT) (“Georgian Bay”) is a CITT case highlighting the complexities of tariff classification when importing goods to Canada.!

Background

When importing commercial goods to Canada, there are three things any importer needs to address from a customs compliance perspective:

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The Tax Court of Canada recently released its decision in Windsor Elms Village for Continuing Care Society v. The King (2023 TCC 58), which dealt with the application of the GST/HST self-supply rules to a long-term care facility for seniors. The decision illustrates the complexity of the self-supply rules under the Excise Tax Act (“ETA”), especially in the context of mixed use or exempt use real estate transactions.

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On September 29, 2023, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) issued a scope ruling concluding that National Nail’s CAMO Edge Screws are subject to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”)’s Expiry Review order covering the dumping of certain carbon steel fasteners from China and Chinese Taipei, and the subsidizing of certain carbon steel fasteners from China.

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Posted by on in Tax Law

Tax assessments are difficult to appeal in Canada because the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) is allowed to make factual ‘assumptions’ which the taxpayer must disprove – or lose its case!

Two recent Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) decisions have seemingly expanded these powers to assumptions of “mixed fact and law” – although the second FCA seemingly walks back the first.

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On October 5, 2023, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) issued its order in respect of an Expiry Review of a previous Order made on February 8, 2018, continuing the Order’s finding of dumping and subsidizing of stainless steel sinks from the People’s Republic of China (“China”).

The CITT more specifically described the Subject Goods as:

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On August 31, 2023, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) issued a revised notice of an Expiry Review in respect on the dumping and subsidizing of copper pipe fittings from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”).

The CITT defined the Subject Goods in its May 25, 2018 Finding:

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On September 06, 2023, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) released its Order continuing the CITT’s original 2018 finding of dumping of carbon and alloy steel line pipe from the Republic of Korea (“South Korea”) but excluding two categories of welded line pipe further described below.

The Subject Goods defined in the order included:

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Justice John Owen of the Tax Court of Canada has rendered one of the most important and potentially far-reaching decisions in 33 years of GST.  While Fiera Foods Company v. The King, 2023 TCC 140 is about some other things, the Tax Court’s keen observations about GST “Information Requirements” is its most important part:  they require sufficient evidence to be obtained prior to claiming input tax credits (“ITCs”), but do not specify or require the “form” of that evidence.

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On September 14, 2023 the Prime Minister announced upcoming legislation to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the construction of new apartment buildings. 

The announcement also called on the provinces participating in the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), or that impose their own provincial sales tax, to match the federal government’s rebate.  In a twitter post the Ontario Minister of Finance has already indicated they will “work closely with Ottawa to do the same when it comes to Ontario’s portion of the HST.”

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While the government of Canada appears focused on the political hot potato that is our residential housing industry, announcing new rules for rental houses are coming,  the CRA is headed in the other direction, apparently targeting residential home-owners that have recently sold their homes, on the basis that the degree to which they fixed them up prior to sale caused the homes to become “new homes” and subject to full GST/HST on their fair market value.

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The CITT recently announced an Expiry Review of its Order on Seamless Carbon or Alloy Steel Oil & Gas Well Casing from China.

What is an Expiry Review

Expiry reviews are conducted jointly by the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) to review prior Anti-Dumping Duty (“ADD”) or Countervailing Duty (“CVD”) orders made by the CITT (“Orders”) under the Special Import Measures Act (“SIMA”).  They generally occur every five years following the original Order or subsequent renewal.

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In Ghermezian v. MNR, 2023 FCA 183, the Federal Court of Appeal may have put the last nail in the coffin for taxpayers trying to dispute the broad reach of the CRA’s audit powers.

CRA’s Use of 3rd Party Requests for Information

The case revolved around the CRA’s Related Party Initiative, and the CRA’s issuance of various requests and requirements for information under section 231.1 of the Income Tax Act (and parallel provisions in section 289 of the Excise Tax Act (alternatively, the “RFIs” and the “Demands”, and the “ITA” and “ETA”).

Tagged in: Audit CRA FCA RFI Taxpayer
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