Focus On

Taxation - PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL TAXATION - Ontario - Income tax - Administration and enforcement

Thursday, November 24, 2016 @ 7:00 PM  

Appeals by two trust entities from assessment of provincial taxes as residents of Ontario. The appellants were two family trust entities assessed provincial taxes for various taxation years between 2006 and 2009. The family trust was settled in Ontario and the spousal trust was settled in Alberta. The family companies were incorporated in Ontario. In 2005, the family trust borrowed money from a family company and invested the proceeds in a securities portfolio. The borrowing was repaid using a dividend declared by one of the family companies. The family trust also held a partnership unit in an Alberta company. During the relevant period, the appellants filed income tax returns as residents of Alberta. The Minister of National Revenue reassessed the appellants as residents of Ontario, subject to Ontario provincial tax. The Minister took the position that all decisions regarding the appellants were made in Ontario. The reassessment gave rise to a $4.7 million difference in taxes owed between the provinces. The appellants appealed on the basis they were Alberta residents during the years at issue, and therefore not liable for Ontario provincial taxes.

HELD: Appeals dismissed. The evidence established that the management and control of the appellants was undertaken in Ontario rather than by Alberta trustees. Although the trustees retained signing authority, the responsibility for supervision, investment and management was outsourced and delegated to advisors in Ontario. Instructions to the Ontario advisors were given by residents of Ontario for each of the appellants, and during each of the taxation years at issue. The appeals of each appellant were accordingly denied.