François Rizcallah Lawyer

François Rizcallah Lawyer


  • Montréal

Phone number

514 878-5482

Bar Admission

  • Québec, 2019


  • Arabic
  • English
  • French

Practice areas



François Rizcallah is a member of the Business Law group and practises primarily in the area of taxation in the Montreal office.

Mr. Rizcallah holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, Common Law path, from Université de Sherbrooke as well as a master’s degree in tax law and taxation.

Before joining Lavery, he completed several legal internships and was involved in numerous committees and events.

Mr. Rizcallah is fluent in French, English and Arabic.


  • Master’s degree in tax law and taxation, Faculty of Law, Université de Sherbrooke, 2021
  • Faculty of Law, Université de Sherbrooke, 2019
  1. Tax opportunities under the Indian Act

    Although it is not often well-understood in business and tax circles, the Indian Act (the “Act”), coupled with federal and provincial tax laws, provides several tax planning opportunities for Indigenous taxpayers. These laws provide various tax exemptions for people who qualify as “Indians” under the Act, as well as for “bands” and other “councils.” These terms are defined in the Act and require case-by-case analysis, but essentially they refer to people of Indigenous origin who have at least one family member who is registered or entitled to be registered as an Indian within the meaning of the Act. The criteria for a tax exemption In particular, those who qualify can benefit from a tax exemption when income is earned on a “reserve.” There are several criteria to be met, and although the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) has issued guidelines on the subject, their application remains a question of fact that varies depending on the particular circumstances applicable to each taxpayer. In general, the CRA requires that income earned by an “Indian” within the meaning of the Act be sufficiently connected to a reserve to be exempt. This is the case when, for example, income-generating services are performed entirely or almost entirely within the territory of a reserve, when the employer and the employee reside on a reserve, or when income is derived from non-commercial activities carried out by a band. Business income can also be tax-exempt, but the criteria for being considered connected to a reserve are stricter, since generally only income-generating activities situated on a reserve will be tax-exempt. However, it is still possible to organize the affairs of a taxpayer and their corporate entities to ensure that these criteria are met, or to highlight certain connecting factors. Such planning, if done properly, is entirely legitimate and can result in significant tax savings. In a recent interpretation (CRA Views 2022-0932231I7), the CRA illustrated this principle by considering employment income related to an off-reserve airport to be exempt, even if none of the guidelines are followed, in cases where such an airport is necessary to supply a reserve that has no other means of transportation and delivery. This interpretation shows that the connection between an income and a reserve is not established solely by the physical presence of the income-generating business, and that several other arguments, sometimes more subtle, can be used to support the connection between an income and a reserve.  A few nuances to consider However, care must be taken when a company is incorporated by someone who qualifies as an “Indian.” A company with its head office on a reserve cannot qualify as “Indian” within the meaning of the Act. Its income therefore cannot be tax-exempt, and will be taxed according to the usual rules. Despite this, certain plans can ease the tax burden on these companies and on shareholders who qualify as “Indians” under the Act, such as paying wages and bonuses to an employee shareholder. But it’s essential to carefully analyze the various pitfalls and risks that such planning entails. Furthermore, certain exemptions exist for companies formed by bands, but the eligibility criteria are strict and require a thorough analysis of the proposed structure. In addition to the income tax exemption, “Indians” within the meaning of the Act and certain entities mandated by bands may benefit from a tax exemption when they purchase goods on a reserve or have goods delivered to them on a reserve. Different exceptions and nuances apply. However, companies headquartered on a reserve are not exempt from their tax collection obligations and may be required to register for the GST/QST. To help you understand these rules and ensure optimal tax planning, we invite you to consult our tax team. We look forward to working with you on your business projects.

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  2. Federal budget: Measures to support the development of renewable energies and technologies

    With climate change continuing to be a topic of concern across the international community, Canada has recently taken another step to support the development of renewable energies and technologies. In the 2023 budget tabled on March 28, 2023, the Canadian federal government unveiled new tax incentives aimed at supporting investments in both renewable energies and certain clean technologies. These incentives can be grouped into five main Investment Tax Credits (ITCs). Clean hydrogen The Clean Hydrogen ITC covers investments in equipment that will be used in clean hydrogen projects. This refundable credit of up to 40% of investments will be applied to equipment that becomes available for use no later than 2034. Clean electricity The Clean Electricity ITC covers investments in the production, transmission and storage of clean electricity. This refundable credit of 15% of eligible investments will also be available until 2034 and will cover the renovation and refurbishment of existing facilities used in the aforementioned activities. Clean technology manufacturing The Clean Technology Manufacturing ITC is a credit equal to 30% of the cost of acquiring certain equipment and machinery used in the manufacturing, processing or extraction of certain minerals and substances used in clean technology. Here again, the credit will only be available until 2034. The 2023 federal budget also expanded certain credits introduced in the 2022 federal budget, namely the Clean Technology ITC and the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage ITC (CCUS ITC).The Clean Technology ITC was originally announced as a credit available for investments in certain clean electricity-generating property and has now been expanded to include certain geothermal energy systems. It provides for the reimbursement of up to 30% of investments. As for the CCUS ITC, it provides for the reimbursement of 37.5% to 60% of certain expenses incurred in projects aimed at capturing, storing and processing carbon dioxide. All of these credits are subject to numerous conditions relating to the types of projects or property involved, the structure of the entity applying for the refundable credit and even the terms of employment of the workforce assigned to these projects. As such, consulting a tax adviser prior to investing in clean technology is recommended in order to maximize available ITCs. Although these measures have not yet been fully fleshed out and adopted, they will apply retroactively to 2022 or 2023, as the case may be, making it all the more important to get the right advice as soon as possible as to their implementation. Our tax team is well equipped to help you navigate the complexities of these new credits and will be happy to work with you on your new green projects.

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  3. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: The Canada Revenue Agency takes action

    In response to the pandemic, the Canadian government launched in the spring of 2020 the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”), a program that provides employers with a subsidy based on the remuneration paid to their employees and income they lost during the pandemic. Section 125.7 of the Income Tax Act (the “ITA”) sets out how the subsidy is to be calculated, and likely caused problems for those who had to interpret this ambiguous provision without supporting doctrine or jurisprudence. For instance, calculating the “qualifying revenue,” which is central to the CEWS calculation, involves many nuances. As an example, it requires that an entity’s revenue during qualifying periods be estimated and that certain items be excluded, such as “extraordinary items,” a term new to the ITA. The calculation of “eligible remuneration,” another important component of the CEWS calculation, also has a number of peculiarities, such as the inclusion of remuneration for related and managerial employees. The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) now has taxpayer’s CEWS calculation in its sights. The CRA began auditing CEWS claims and issuing notices of assessment to taxpayers in an effort to reduce the amount of CEWS originally granted. With reductions in pre-pandemic period qualifying income or the inclusion of items that taxpayers had initially excluded in their qualifying period income, such assessments are likely to have a significant impact on the CEWS amounts to which taxpayers were entitled, especially for companies with a large number of employees. In specific cases, the CRA may also impose penalties which can be as high as 50% of the excess subsidy claimed. Although the time limit for amending CEWS claims has expired, submitting a fairness request to amend a previously filed claim may be possible in some circumstances. Moreover, when notices of assessment are issued, a notice of objection may be filed to contest the adjustments made by the CRA. It is important to keep all documentation related to the calculation of the “qualifying revenue,” your employees’ remuneration and any other accounting documents to support the CEWS amounts claimed. A proactive approach and early intervention in a CEWS audit will not only result in a more favourable outcome in a given case, but will also prevent many back-and-forths with the CRA. Lavery’s tax law team is familiar with the CEWS program and its intricacies, and can assist you should you be audited or should you receive a notice of assessment from the CRA.

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  1. Lavery welcomes a new associate

    Lavery is pleased to announce the arrival of a new associate to the firm. François Rizcallah François Rizcallah is joining the Business Law group and will practise primarily in the area of taxation in the Sherbrooke office. François began his legal career by completing several internships and was involved in numerous committees and events. “I was drawn by the human side of the firm, its involvement in the community and the high caliber of its lawyers. From what I’ve seen, not only is Lavery a firm that encourages its members to keep learning, it offers its clients quality legal services and collaborators for their businesses’ futures. It’s this relationship of trust and collaboration with clients and the community that I look for and find important. I’ve always been drawn by debates and arguments, whether it’s developing them or using them to convince someone. I like the logic and framework of the law and the challenge of having to communicate as clearly as possible legal concepts that are sometimes complex.” – François Rizcallah

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