Focus On
NEW In-House Counsel | Insurance | Intellectual Property | Immigration | Natural Resources | Real Estate | Tax



Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 07:00 PM

Taxation - Goods and Services Tax (GST) - Exempt supplies - Financial services - Special cases - Insurers - Appeals

Appeal by Great-West Life Assurance Company (Great-West) from the dismissal of its appeals from GST assessments on fees it collected for services provided in connection with group health benefits plans it offered to employers. The benefit plans included coverage for drugs and dental care for employees and their families. Great-West assumed the risk in providing benefits in exchange for an insurance premium with respect to the prescription drug component, while the employer assumed the risk and Great-West earned a service fee for other components of its plans. Emergis provided services to Great-West which involved receiving and adjudicating benefits claims from employees and arranging for benefits to be paid on a real-time basis. Emergis Inc. (Emergis) provided this service by making agreements with pharmacies, pursuant to which pharmacies would fill prescriptions for card-carrying employees covered by Great-West on the understanding that payment would follow from Emergis. Emergis would pay the pharmacies on behalf of Great-West, using Great-West’s funds. Emergis earned a fee for each drug transaction, whether or not the claim was approved. Emergis also provided a call centre for the use of employers and pharmacies, among other services. It was common ground that the services provided by Emergis and Great-West constituted a single compound supply, rather than multiple supplies. The judge determined that the essential character of the supply was the payment of the drug benefits to employees, not the provision of financial services. The judge found the supply did not fall within the GST exclusions for financial services because Emergis’ services went beyond solely making payments. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 11:53 AM

Minden Gross adds two new partners

Ryan Gelbart and Matthew Getzler have joined the partnership of Minden Gross LLP. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 @ 02:06 PM

In a self-represented world, judges must be the gatekeepers | Gary Joseph

Our adversarial system operates on the premise of passive adjudication.  By this I mean the role of our judges is predominately reflexive as they hear evidence, weigh it and determine disputes based upon what has been presented to them.    Unlike some jurisdictions where judges play an investigative role, our judges must not search out evidence outside of what is presented in court to them by the parties to the dispute.   ... [read more]

Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 07:00 PM

Real Property Law - Real property tax - Delinquent property taxes - Tax sales - Sale proceeds

Appeal by Poplar Point First Nation from an order paying out of court sale proceeds from a municipal tax sale of its property. The City recovered $5,843 in tax arrears and costs from the tax sale, paying the remainder of $76,000 into court. Poplar was three weeks late in applying for the payment out of court of the proceeds. It explained that it did not receive the notice of payment into court because the notice was sent to the assessed and sold property, and that, because it had other properties subject to tax sale proceedings, it was confused about the date that the one-year limitation period started running on the subject property. Poplar acted promptly once it discovered that it had missed the deadline. The City brought a counter-application for payment of the monies. The judge dismissed Poplar’s application on the basis that he lacked jurisdiction to grant relief from forfeiture. He granted the City’s counter-application. ... [read more]

Thursday, December 22, 2016 @ 07:00 PM

Taxation - PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL TAXATION - Ontario - Sales tax - Persons liable for tax - Exemptions

Appeal by Capcorp Planning from an assessment of provincial sales tax. The appellant provided extended health care insurance benefits that supplemented the provincial health care scheme. Plan purchasers typically were unable to obtain extended coverage due to a pre-existing condition or other insurance impediment. Contracts were entered into with a corporation who employed the person to be covered. The level of coverage was determined by the employer. The provincial Crown audited the appellant and found that no sales tax was collected in respect of premiums paid by plan purchasers. The Crown consequently invoked a penalty for non-remittance of sales tax on the premium amounts. Capcorp appealed. It submitted that the funds at issue were not subject to tax under the definitions in the Retail Sales Tax Act. ... [read more]

Thursday, November 24, 2016 @ 07:00 PM

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

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. ... [read more]

Thursday, November 17, 2016 @ 07:00 PM

Taxation - Customs and excise - Customs - Tariff classification - Imports - Preferential tariffs - Redetermination and appeals - Appeals - Canadian International Trade Tribunal - Federal Court

Appeal by the Attorney General from three decisions of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal upholding the ability of importers to correct certain declarations in order to obtain more favourable tariff treatment. In the three cases, goods qualifying under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were imported into Canada from the US duty-free using the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff treatment. The importers declared certain tariff classifications for the goods. Later, as a result of CBSA audits, the importers discovered that the tariff classifications they had chosen for the goods were incorrect, and they filed a correction of the tariff classification. They also notified the CBSA of the change to the tariff treatment. The goods went from duty-free classification with MFN treatment to a duty-free classification with NAFTA treatment. The CBSA objected to what the importers had done, claiming that the MFN treatment was not incorrect and therefore could not be changed. The Tribunal saw nothing wrong with what the importers had done finding that the NAFTA tariff treatment was always available to the goods and the change simply maintained the status quo. The Tribunal further found that the CBSA followed a wrong methodology by focusing on a purported correction to tariff treatment and committed an abuse of process by re-litigating a prior decision. The Attorney General appealed the three decisions. It also challenged the Tribunal’s finding that the CBSA committed an abuse of process. ... [read more]

Thursday, October 20, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Taxation - Customs and excise - Customs - Tariff classification - Imports - By type of product - Redeterminations and appeals - Appeals - Canadian International Trade Tribunal - Federal Court

Appeal by the Attorney General of Canada from a judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal setting aside a decision of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT). The Court had to determine whether hockey gloves, for customs tariff classification purposes, constituted a “glove, mitten or mitt”, oran “article of plastics”. The CITT concluded that certain blockers and catchers imported by the respondent Igloo Vikski Inc. were each classifiable as a “glove, mitten or mitt”. The Federal Court of Appeal, however, held that those blockers and catchers were also classifiable, prima facie, as “articles of plastics”. More particularly, the Court of Appeal found that the CITT had erred by stating that the goods must meet the description of a heading by applying Rule 1 of the General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System (General Rules) before Rule 2(b) of the General Rules could be used to extend that heading to cover goods made of mixed substances. In the Court of Appeal’s view, because the goods were prima facie classifiable under two headings, Rule 3 of the General Rules should have been employed to determine the proper classification of the gloves. The Court of Appeal therefore remitted the matter back to the CITT so that it could undertake that Rule 3 analysis. ... [read more]

Thursday, October 13, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Tax provisions can't trump legal privilege

The Supreme Court of Canada has clipped the wings of the Canada Revenue Agency in its efforts to curtail solicitor-client or legal privilege for financial records. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Mark that up as a mark to market tax win

Taxpayers are entitled to use the mark-to-market method to compute income for federal tax purposes if it provides a more accurate picture of a taxpayer’s income, the Federal Court of Appeal has recently ruled. ... [read more]