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GOODS AND SERVICES TAX (GST) - Imposition and calculation of GST - Appeals - Tax Court of Canada - Federal Courts

Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 8:47 AM  

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Appeal by Farm Credit Canada from a Tax Court of Canada decision dismissing its appeal from a reassessment of GST made under the Excise Tax Act. The appellant was a federal Crown corporation created to provide specialized and personalized financial services to farming operations. Its services included making loans to primary producers to purchase business inputs such as land and equipment, making loans to suppliers or processors who did business with primary producers, and entering into agreements with partners that acted as intermediaries. In 2012, the Canada Revenue Agency reassessed the appellant's GST returns for 2008 through 2011 on the basis it was a loan corporation rather than a general corporation for the purpose of the GST Attribution Regulations. An appeal before the Tax Court was limited to the 2010-2011 reporting period. The Tax Court applied a textual, contextual, and purposive approach to the Attribution Regulations and related amendments within the reporting period. The Tax Court concluded that the term loan corporation referred to a company whose principal business was lending money. Given the appellant's admission regarding its principal business, it followed that the appellant was a loan corporation during the reporting period. The appellant appealed.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The plain meaning of the text of the Regulations was that a loan corporation was a corporation that made loans. No mention was made of regulated entities or taking deposits. The context, including the amendments during the reporting period, reinforced a conclusion that Parliament did not intend any limitation on the meaning of a loan corporation and did not support a finding of two types of lending institutions with different attribution percentages. Parliament did not intend to create a tax advantage over deposit-taking institutions that also engaged in lending. The Tax Court correctly found that the term loan corporation was not limited to regulated institutions that took deposits from the public, and that the appellant was thus within the scope of the term.

Farm Credit Canada v. Canada, [2017] F.C.J. No. 1224, Federal Court of Appeal, J. Gauthier, D.G. Near and Y. de Montigny JJ.A., December 12, 2017. Digest No. TLD-December252017007