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FEDERAL INCOME TAX - Business and property income - Expenses - Capital expenditures, distinguished - Repairs, maintenance and alterations - Appeals - Tax Court of Canada

Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 9:27 AM  


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Appeal by Aon Inc. from an assessment by the Minister of National Revenue for its 2010 and 2011 taxation years allowed. In 2010 and 2011, the appellant claimed approximately $4.36 million in extensive structural repair done on a parking garage and roof in its Citi Centre complex as current expenditures. The cement in the garage and roof of the affected area of the complex had been subjected to damage from salt, which deteriorated the cement, since at least the 1990s. The appellant chose several times to defer extensive replacement and repair work, until a 2009 structural survey found continuing severe deterioration of the concrete and roof. The appellant undertook to have the work done in 2010 and 2011, at a total cost of $4.36 million. The appellant then claimed this expense as a current expenditure for those years. The Minister disallowed the claim, finding that the repairs were a capital depreciable expenditure. The appellant argued that the Minister had erred in disallowing the deduction as a current expenditure and sought a reassessment. The appellant noted that the work did not increase the size of the parking lot, or create new spaces, and that the revenue from renting the spaces remained the same. It argued that the roof work was integral and part of the overall repair job. The respondent argued that the work was a betterment, and so was more properly characterized as a capital expenditure, depreciable over time.

HELD: Appeal allowed. This was a borderline case. Usually, the difference between capital depreciable expenditures and current expenditures was clear. Here, while there was an enduring benefit and betterment because of the work done, neither the functionality nor the profitability of the garage had been increased. The roof work was an integral part of the structural work done on the cement replacement. Further, the work was a very small part of the entire value of the operation of the Citi Centre. Ultimately, the lasting improvements, which did not increase the functionality of the garage, did not tip the balance to make this a depreciable expenditure as opposed to a current expenditure. Accordingly, the matter was referred back to the Minister for reconsideration on the basis that the expenditures were current expenditures.

Aon Inc. v. Canada, [2017] T.C.J. No. 118, Tax Court of Canada, G. Jorré J., August 31, 2017. Digest No. TLD-Oct22017011