Digital taxes have become a subject of significant debate in recent years. Following allegations that tech giants have paid very little tax anywhere in the world, some countries have moved to impose new taxes on profits derived from digital services provided by multinational enterprises on a jurisdiction-specific basis. For instance, France recently adopted a digital services tax of 3% per annum applicable to the portion of revenue that digital companies derive in France. Similarly, as of April 1, 2020, the UK imposed a 2% per annum tax on the revenue of search engines, social media services and online marketplaces that … Continue Reading
Subject to certain exceptions, where a shareholder (other than a corporation resident in Canada) of a corporation is indebted to the corporation (a “Shareholder Loan”), the shareholder is deemed by subsection 80.4(2) to receive an interest benefit to the extent that the notional interest on the Shareholder Loan, calculated at the prescribed rate, exceeds the interest actually owing and paid. However, for a Shareholder Loan that was included in computing the income of a person under Part I of the Income Tax Act (for example under subsection 15(2)), paragraph 80.4(3)(b) provides that no subsection 80.4(2) interest benefit is … Continue Reading
In a recent unanimous decision of the full bench in 1068754 Alberta Ltd v Quebec (Agence du revenue) (1068754 Alberta Ltd.), the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld Quebec tax officials’ authority to demand information from a national bank that operates in multiple provinces including Quebec and Alberta, thereby asserting that different branches of the same corporation are still one legal person.
Unlike other provinces, Quebec collects its own income tax and the requirement to pay taxes depends on the residency of a person (legal or natural). Determining residency can be a complex legal analysis and requires a … Continue Reading
ITA regulation 102 requires employers to withhold tax on remuneration paid to non-resident employees who are employed in Canada. This requirement can be avoided by seeking a treaty-based waiver (regulation 102 waiver) or certification as a qualifying non-resident employer. However, often there is not sufficient time to do this before the employment is to begin, or there is a lack of awareness of the rules. Where the employer must withhold tax, should the amount be based on the non-resident employee’s Canadian income or worldwide income? Clarification from the CRA would be appreciated.
Specifically, regulation 102 imposes withholding on “any payment … Continue Reading
When we structure private equity funds, whether through a mutual fund trust, limited partnership or certain other entities, considerable time is spent on the income tax issues. We examine the deductibility of the management fees. We consider strategies for delivering the carried interest to employees in a tax-efficient way. We take steps to keep the flow-through nature of the mutual fund trust and prevent it from being a SIFT trust. We draft detailed securities tax disclosure dealing with allocation and distribution of earnings to unitholders, the resulting impact on adjusted cost base and the tax consequences of redemption of units, … Continue Reading
On November 20, 2018, the federal Government of Canada released their Fall Economic Update – a review of the country’s finances and economic health that addresses trends and changes taking place in Canada and the world since the federal Budget in the spring.
Of particular note in 2018 was the anticipated response to the U.S. tax reform enacted by the Trump administration. In addition to slashing corporate tax rates from approximately 35% to approximately 27% (including state taxes) – an amount that puts pressure on Canada’s corporate tax rates, which vary between 26.5% and 31% – the U.S. tax reform … Continue Reading
No one would ever suggest international tax law is simple, but with Canada’s impending ratification of the OECD’s Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the “MLI“), a new layer of complexity has been added when determining whether a taxpayer is eligible to receive a particular treaty benefit. The recent decision in Alta Energy Luxembourg S.a.r.l v The Queen(“Alta Energy“) might be a new high-water mark for taxpayers in treaty interpretation, but it may also be their last win.
The decision in Alta Energy considered the … Continue Reading
Canadian federal income tax law provides numerous benefits to companies that engage in an “active business”. Whether a particular endeavour undertaken is an “active business” is, of course, a question of fact and depends on individual circumstances. Some scenarios are clearly those of an “active business”, such as the case of manufacturing and production, retail, mining, sales and shipping and receiving. Others are clearly more of a passive nature, such as merely owning real estate and collecting rent on the property, without any substantive management. Many could be considered somewhere in between.
When a company is in fact engaged in … Continue Reading
JP Morgan recently released its 2018 Global M&A Outlook report, predicting that 1) investor confidence from solid GDP growth, 2) disruption risk from technological change, and 3) opportunities from the passing of the US tax reform will drive significant M&A activity in the year ahead.
In 2017, nine out of ten equity sectors in the US achieved positive returns. The strong equity performance was driven by several factors, including:
- strong corporate earnings growth across sectors (apart from the energy sector);
- historically low interest rates;
- low unemployment rates and improving GDP growth; and
- increasing consumer and business confidence.
With the recent market uproar for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, the tax question is becoming more and more pertinent. Whether one is trading in cryptocurrency, issuing it in an effort to raise capital, hanging onto it as a long term investment, mining it or using it to access software apps, numerous questions arise.
Answering these questions with any measure of certainty, however, is tough. No legislation has been introduced and no Canadian case law has yet been decided on cryptocurrency (although one surmises that that won’t be the case for long). The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has released … Continue Reading
On July 1, amendments to the Income Tax Act (Canada) implementing international common reporting standards (CRS) will come into force. The CRS regime is intended to facilitate the exchange of taxpayer information between governments. Financial institutions will be required to report financial information about individuals and entities not resident in Canada to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which will in turn share the information with the tax authorities in the individual or entity’s jurisdiction of residence.
Due diligence obligations
Under CRS, financial institutions in Canada will be required to conduct due diligence on all financial … Continue Reading
Deals often come together very quickly. In all that rush, it’s easy for the parties to forget to think about all of the long term implications of the deal. Perhaps the parties simply didn’t realize that the deal would have certain consequences that frustrated their original intentions. Maybe the parties intended to avoid particular tax consequences but carried out the steps of the transaction in the wrong order. Whatever the issue, the remedy of rectification offers the parties a second chance; a chance to go back and fix their mistakes. Two recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada have … Continue Reading
Last November, we told you about the new treaty shopping rules proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as part of the final report on Action 6 of the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS Action Plan).
The main proposal in Action 6 was the amendment of the OECD model tax treaty to include “limitation on benefit” provisions. Two types of provisions were proposed: (i) specific provisions (LoB provisions) that limit the availability of treaty benefits to individuals, corporations, and other organizations that meet specific criteria that are … Continue Reading
As we have previously noted, earn-outs are becoming an increasingly common part of M&A deals, and there are a number of key commercial questions to consider when negotiating them. But there are also tax consequences that must be considered when structuring earn-outs.
Earn-outs link a portion of total purchase price to the performance of the business following the acquisition. In effect, the purchaser will hold back a portion of the purchase price, and if specified targets are achieved, all or a portion of the held-back purchase price will be paid to the seller. In contrast, a reverse earn-out requires the … Continue Reading
With fall around the corner and looming tax changes, certain private companies – Canadian-controlled Private Corporations (generally, private corporations that are controlled by Canadian residents, referred to herein as CCPCs) – may begin to feel pressure to quickly start and/or complete asset sale transactions. On March 22, 2016, the federal Finance Minister released the 2016 Federal budget. The budget includes new measures that will impact tax payable on sales of eligible capital property (ECP), such as goodwill and other intangibles. The impact of these changes will largely be borne by sellers. The date for implementing these measures … Continue Reading
The number one consideration for anyone buying or selling a business is price. But getting the best price is not just about the total cash value. How the purchase price is allocated across the various assets included in the deal has significant implications for the future tax liabilities of both purchasers and sellers. This article discusses some of the major considerations for purchasers and sellers in deciding how to allocate the purchase price in asset purchase agreements, and recent proposed changes to the tax treatment of goodwill which may alter the current allocation preferences of the purchaser and seller.
Inventory… Continue Reading
Tuesday marked the release of the new Liberal government’s first budget. The budget, entitled “Growing the Middle Class”, did not contain the anticipated changes to the tax treatment of employee stock options discussed last week on Deal Law Wire. The proposed changes were first announced in the Liberal party’s election platform and would have capped claims for employee stock option deductions by high earners. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau indicated yesterday that the proposed changes to employee stock options are no longer in the federal government’s plans. This is good news for Canadian start-ups that voiced concerns that … Continue Reading
There has been much speculation about the tax measures to be included in the new federal government’s first budget that will be presented next week, on March 22. Of particular interest to the start-up and technology communities is whether the budget will introduce changes to the tax treatment of employee stock options. The Liberal party’s election campaign promised reform in this area, but contained few details of the proposal.
Current treatment of stock options
An employee stock option grants an employee the right to purchase shares of its employer company at a stated exercise price. Upon exercise of the option, … Continue Reading
Non-competition agreements can be a valuable tool for purchasers who want to protect their investments in new businesses. However, non-competition agreements can have unintended and unexpected tax consequences, particularly to sellers who grant non-competition agreements to purchasers.
The Income Tax Act (Canada) (the Act) contains specific provisions regarding the taxation of “restrictive covenants”, a broadly defined term that includes, among other things, non-competition agreements, regardless of whether such agreements are legally enforceable.
Under section 56.4 of the Act, the portion of the purchase price allocated to the granting of a restrictive covenant (whether by the parties or as a … Continue Reading
In February we wrote about a discussion draft of Action 6 of the Action Plan on Base Erosion (BEPS Action Plan) developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) at the request of the G20. In October, the OECD published its final report on Action 6 of the BEPS Action Plan.
Action 6 is intended to address the phenomenon of “treaty shopping”, a practice whereby a business structures itself to take advantage of tax treaties with favourable provisions that are ordinarily unavailable. One example of treaty shopping involves a corporation resident in a country … Continue Reading
As a result of new US reporting rules that came into effect on January 1, 2011, Canadian public and private issuers may be subject to a significant information reporting obligation when undertaking one of a wide range of transactions. The new rules are intended to increase compliance in reporting capital gains and losses for US tax purposes.
The rules require issuers of “specified securities” to complete an information return for any “organizational action” that affects the US tax basis of those securities. Specified securities currently include shares of a corporation or a Regulated Investment Company.
On January 1, 2013, or … Continue Reading