Taxation

Overview

We represent Canadian and international companies and their owners in many different sectors, offering a full range of services that include developing and implementing beneficial tax structures and strategies, representing clients in court, and negotiating settlements with the tax authorities.

Our team of tax lawyers will find ingenious ways to optimize your investments while reducing your tax expenses. 

Services

  • Tax planning for Canadian residents and non-residents, including the creation and organization of companies, partnerships, joint ventures, and trusts in Canada and internationally
  • Taxation of public and private financings and financial products
  • Taxation of the purchase and sale of businesses (assets or shares)
  • Tax considerations of technology transfers and maximization of R&D tax credits
  • Advance rulings on tax issues from federal and provincial authorities
  • Tax considerations of real estate projects
  • Interpreting income tax treaties
  • Representation before federal and provincial tax authorities, administrative tribunals, and courts
  • Interpretation and opinions concerning income tax as well as the GST, HST and QST
  • Tax aspects of pension plans and benefit plans
  • Development of international structures and strategies for importers and exporters of goods and services
  • Mining taxes
  • Testamentary trusts and post-mortem estate planning
  • Domestic and international trusts
  • Tax-exempt organizations
  1. 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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  2. Federal Budget 2022: Good News for Mining Exploration Compagnies!

    On April 7, 2022, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the federal government’s new budget for 2022. This budget includes several tax measures relevant to the mining industry in Canada. The Canadian federal government intends to provide $3.8 billion over eight years to implement Canada’s first critical minerals strategy. One of the methods used to implement this new strategy and stimulate exploration is an investment vehicle well known to the mining industry: flow-through shares. The 2022 budget proposes to create a new 30% Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (CMETC) for certain specified minerals. Specified minerals that would be eligible for the new CMETC are: copper, nickel, lithium, cobalt, graphite, rare earth elements, scandium, titanium, gallium, vanadium, tellurium, magnesium, zinc, platinum group metals and uranium. As for the regular mineral exploration tax credit, the exploration expenses must have been incurred in Canada. The renunciation of expenses must also have been made under flow-through share agreements entered into after budget day and before March 31, 2027. It is important to note that there will be no cumulation of tax credits. Eligible expenditures will not be eligible for both the proposed new CMETC and the 15% regular mineral exploration tax credit (METC). In order for exploration expenses to qualify for the CMETC, a qualified person (as defined in National Instrument 43–101 issued by the Canadian Securities Administrators) will further have to certify that the expenses renounced will be incurred in the course of an exploration project for specified minerals. On this point, the measure seems to insert a new legal test of “reasonable expectation” that the minerals targeted by the exploration are “primarily specified minerals”. No details have yet been issued on the mechanics of applying this test.  However, if the qualified person is unable to demonstrate that there is a reasonable expectation that the minerals targeted by the exploration project are predominantly specified minerals, the related exploration expenses would not be eligible for the CMETC and consequently, any credit granted for ineligible expenses would be recouped from the flow-through share holder who received the credit. Pending the tabling of a more detailed legislative version, careful attention and planning will therefore be required for new flow-through share financings to ensure that they meet the legal criteria for this new tax credit. Our team of professionals in securities, mining law and taxation is available to answer all your questions regarding this new measure and to assist you in the implementation of a successful flow-through financing: Josianne Beaudry René Branchaud Ali El Haskouri Charles-Hugo Gagné Éric Gélinas Sébastien Vézina

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  3. Pre‑ruling Consultation with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): a little‑known yet practical service

    Canada’s tax system is very complex and tends to become more complex over time. Amendments to tax laws in recent years have not simplified our tax system, quite the contrary. The introduction of various intention tests in tax laws has also further increased tax authorities’ discretion as to the application of such laws. In this context, it is often a good idea to obtain the Canada Revenue Agency’s (“CRA”) advice on the application of tax laws to proposed transactions. Given that the CRA is responsible for applying the Income Tax Act (the “ITA”) and other legislation, some Canadian taxpayers would be well advised to ensure that the CRA will agree with their interpretation of the ITA in the context of a proposed tax plan or transaction. Getting the CRA’s opinion will help to steer clear of differences in opinion that could lead to lengthy and costly debates. The CRA has long offered Canadian taxpayers the opportunity to consult it before proceeding with tax plans or transactions. The two best known mechanisms for doing so are requests for a Technical Interpretation and requests for a Ruling. As a request for a Technical Interpretation is made anonymously, the resulting interpretation as to the application of the ITA is not binding on the CRA, and it requires a considerable amount of time to obtain. A request for a Ruling, on the other hand, requires identification of the parties and details of the proposed tax plan or transaction, and the resulting Ruling will bind the CRA to certain conditions. It is also faster to obtain. The CRA charges a fee to render a Ruling, but does not charge one for a Technical Interpretation. There is, however, a third, lesser-known mechanism available to taxpayers: a Pre-ruling Consultation. Some of its advantages include: Faster feedback for taxpayers as to the likelihood that the CRA will render the Ruling sought. Lesser preparation costs, as a Pre-ruling Consultation request requires less information than a request for a Ruling. Lower fees to be paid to the CRA in cases where the CRA believes that it cannot render the Ruling a taxpayer is seeking. The use of the Pre-ruling Consultation service will often be the best way to begin the request for a Ruling process. By using the service, taxpayers can quickly determine, at a relatively low cost, whether they should engage in the request for a Ruling process. The service isn’t a substitute for obtaining such a Ruling, however, as a Ruling has the advantage of binding the CRA with respect to the tax consequences of a proposed tax plan or transaction.   Our taxation team can guide you and answer your questions regarding the services that the CRA offers in connection with tax compliance.

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  4. COVID-19: Anticipating Capital Gains, Wealth, Gift and Inheritance Taxes

    The deficits being generated by the emergency measures that the federal and provincial governments have implemented since March 2020 are a reminder of the magnitude of our governments’ pre-crisis deficits. This situation will inevitably lead to a greater tax burden for businesses and individuals at some point. Despite the unprecedented nature of these circumstances and the difficult financial situations that organizations find themselves in, steps can be taken now to mitigate repercussions. For several years, there has been increasing speculation about the capital gains inclusion rate being increased. Rumours also abound about the potential creation of an inheritance tax, which would undoubtedly be accompanied by a gift tax and a wealth tax. In this context, it is becoming ever more plausible that the federal government will finally increase the capital gains inclusion rate and tax the value of inheritances and gifts as early as the next budget, which has been postponed because of the ongoing crisis. An annual wealth tax on high net worth individuals could likewise be in the pipeline. As is now customary, the measures would apply as of midnight the night before the budget is tabled, closing the door to most tax planning strategies to reduce the impact of such measures. In the face of this situation, several steps can be taken as of now as, for instance: Crystallization of unrealized capital gains using a business corporation, partnership or trust; Gifts of money or property to family members or trusts; Termination of Canadian tax residency in favour of a lower-tax jurisdiction. The majority of tax planning strategies aiming to reduce or postpone the impact of such measures can be reversed should the anticipated measures not be adopted. In the event that governments do not increase the tax burden straightaway or opt for other, difficult-to-predict measures, well-planned transactions, such as realizing an accumulated gain on certain assets, making a direct gift, or making a gift through a trust, will ensure that additional taxes need not be paid. If you would like more information, our taxation team is available to help you.

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  1. Éric Gélinas and Audrey Gibeault speak at the Colloque en droit des sociétés

    On November 23, Éric Gélinas and Audrey Gibeault, respectively a partner and an associate of the Business Law group, spoke during the Colloque en droit des sociétés held in the Conference Centre at the Intercontinental Hotel. Over 60 people attended and listened to a presentation on tax pitfalls to avoid entitled “Pièges à éviter en matière fiscale pour un avocat en droit des affaires”.

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  2. Audrey Gibeault and Luc Pariseau speak to the M&A Club

    Audrey Gibeault and Luc Pariseau, respectively an associate and a partner of the Business Law group, spoke to the M&A Club about what’s new in tax law. The seminar was held on October 31 at the Lavery Conference Centre and was attended by over 50 people.

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