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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Carousel Scheme

Posted by on in Tax Law

Another question that we are often asked is what the CRA means by the term “carousel scheme”.  It is a great question, because the CRA does not define its position on that phrase anywhere, other than in private assessment documents that it sometimes provides to GST registered persons on the wrong end of the CRA’s Notices of Assessment powers.

According to the CRA, and in its simplest form:

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Posted by on in Tax Law

We are often asked about “accommodation invoices”, and what the CRA is talking about when speaking about these types of invoices.

This is predominantly a term that is used in the GST context but is not defined anywhere in the Excise Tax Act (i.e., the GST legislation) or relatively speaking anywhere in any published CRA administrative document.

But CRA does disclose what it means by “Accommodation Invoices” when it comes time to assess wary taxpayers:

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As we blogged about here, here and here, CRA continues to audit telecommunications businesses for possible sham and carousel transactions (i.e., GST fraud).

The alleged fraudulent activities come in many forms, and one auditing efforts seems focussed on suppliers and/or recipients connected to the Iris Technologies Inc. case, winding its way through the Tax Court of Canada (“Iris Technologies”).

Iris Technologies has been in the CRA’s gunsights for a number of years now, and allegedly involved in the fraudulent sale of long distance minutes to individuals and companies in Canada and abroad. CRA’s current focus appears to be on the allegedly fraudulent nature of these sales, seemingly taking the position that if Iris Technologies’ purchases and sales were sham transactions, then so too must be the suppliers and recipients transactions on the other side of Iris Technologies (i.e., those suppliers selling minutes to Iris, and those recipients purchasing minutes from Iris) – many (all?) of whom the CRA may be alleging are part of the same carousel schemes.

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As we blogged about here and here, CRA has recently focused its audit powers to investigate allegations of shams (i.e., fraud) in the application of GST in the telecommunications industry.

The alleged fraudulent activities come in many forms and can even involve allegations of so-called GST ‘carousel schemes’. Below, we highlight two cases currently working their way through courts and the takeaway points for businesses unlucky enough to be facing similar situations.

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Although section 323 of the Excise Tax Act imposes joint and several liability onto the corporate director for a corporation’s failure to remit GST/HST, this liability is negated if the director “exercised the degree of care, diligence and skill to prevent the failure that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in comparable circumstances.”  In order to establish this due diligence defence, a director has to meet a fairly high threshold according to current jurisprudence.  The recent decision of Cherniak (2015 TCC 53), suggests that this defence will be very difficult to meet where the corporation assessed was involved in “artificial” transactions.

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