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As we have blogged about a fewtimes in the past, corporate tax debts are unlike other forms of liability and can pose special challenges for directors and shareholders of corporations that have unmet tax obligations.  This can lead to dreaded director’s liability and third-party assessments, which allow the CRA to effectively “pierce the veil” and go after individuals or other businesses that would otherwise be protected by the screen of limited corporate liability.

A recent decision at the Tax Court of Canada considered this issue, serving as a reminder to businesses and their owners that these debts are not so easily ignored.

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Direct sellers in the US have a “safe harbour” which does not exist in Canada. Specifically, section 3508 of the US Internal Revenue Code expressly excludes the salesforce from the definition of “employee” for federal tax purposes! By contrast, direct sellers operating in Canada need to be proactive about making sure that the salesforce stays on the right side of the employee – independent contractor divide, which is a “common law” test in Canada.

The recent Tax Court of Canada (“TCC”) case of Mazraani provides a good refresher – and some positive comments for Canadian direct sellers – on the difference between employees and independent contractors.

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Since the inception of the GST/HST in 1991, the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) has taken what we consider to be a strict approach to the documentary/information requirements under section 169(4) of the Excise Tax Act (“ETA”), which must be met in order to claim input tax credits (“ITCs” and the “ITC Information Requirements”). This approach has likely lead to millions if not billions of ITC denials, leaving GST/HST registrants unable to recover GST/HST paid on their business inputs, and leaving the costs of their goods and services artificially too high – because of this unrecoverable GST/HST left embedded in the system.

In what we regard as potentially the most important case in decades, the Tax Court of Canada’s (“TCC”) decision in CFI Funding Trust (2022 TCC 60) underscores that CRA’s strict approach is overly technical and incorrect!

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Tax professionals are well aware of how critical it is to file Notices of Objection on time — generally within 90 days of the mailing of a Notice of Assessment. For professionals and taxpayers who find themselves unable to have met this deadline, section 303 of the Excise Tax Act (the “ETA”) (and section 166.1 of the Income Tax Act) provides some potential relief (i.e., an extension to file, provided certain preconditions are met).

A recent Tax Court of Canada (“TCC”) decision in Lamarnic & J Ltd. v. The Queen (2022 TCC 35) explores this rule but, at the same time, serves as a cautionary tale for taxpayers and tax professionals alike that these extension rules may only be available if the rules are strictly adhered to within set statutory timelines.

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As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tax Court of Canada (the "TCC") has been closed with all hearings cancelled since March 16, 2020.

A recent Notice to the Public and Profession (the "Notice") issued by the TCC has indicated this cancellation of hearings will extend to July 17, 2020 (which would have been the last day of hearings before the TCC's previously scheduled 4-week summer recess).

The Notice also reveals that the TCC has been preparing to re-open.

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