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Taxation

INCOME TAX

Taxpayer had predominant intention to make profit

Taxpayer had been sports journalist who had written sports blogs as part of his employment. After taxpayer’s employment ended in 2011, he started his own sports blog on professional website with view to obtaining advertisement revenue from sponsors. Taxpayer continued to travel to sports team’s games and deducted travel expenses. Taxpayer claimed no gross income and business loss of $26,540 in 2011, and gross income of $7,500 but net business loss of $33,366 in 2012. Minister of National Revenue denied taxpayer’s business losses on ground that taxpayer did not conduct any business activities. Taxpayer appealed. Appeals allowed. While there was commercial aspect of taxpayer’s venture, there was also personal element for sports fan to travel to watch sports team play and blog about it. Taxpayer had over 20 years’ experience as sportswriter but no experience in selling advertising or running media business. Taxpayer did nothing to solicit sponsors but was able to obtain one sponsor. While taxpayer’s intended course of action was poor business judgment, it was not so devoid of commercial reasoning to conclude venture was personal. Taxpayer did not provide evidence to assess venture’s capability to make profit. Given early stage of venture, it was found to go beyond hobby. Taxpayer had predominant intention to make profit and behaved in reasonable businesslike manner to pursue that end, while in start-up phase.
Berger v. R. (Jun. 19, 2015, T.C.C. [Informal Procedure], Campbell J. Miller J., File No. 2014-4251(IT)I) 254 A.C.W.S. (3d) 232.   

Taxation

INCOME TAX

Favourable income tax consequences did not change nature of gift

Taxpayer purported to make gift to city of ecologically sensitive property he had purchased from father. Minister assessed taxpayer under Income Tax Act (Can.), for 2009 taxation year, treating transaction as disposition of inventory and including value of land less its original cost as income from business. Taxpayer appealed. Appeal allowed. Transaction was charitable gift. Taxpayer was credible. Taxpayer did not acquire and dispose of land as part of business. No indicia of business existed. Putting land in possession of corporation and taking steps to rezone it did not make venture business. Adventure or concern that involves acquisition of land that is ultimately subject of bona fide charitable donation for no consideration is not adventure or concern in nature of trade. Land had been purchased by taxpayer’s father for no reason beyond owning land, and purchased by taxpayer as pretext to give money to father. Application for subdivision and construction of gravel road were not indication of business, but merely steps taken to protect asset. Taxpayer did not have primary intention to purchase land, and whether development of land was secondary purpose was unclear and not carried out. Favourable income tax consequences did not change nature of gift. Transaction was gift subject to capital gain deemed to be zero.
Staltari v. R. (May. 13, 2015, T.C.C. [General Procedure], John R. Owen J., File No. 2013-1038(IT)G) 252 A.C.W.S. (3d) 863.

Employment Insurance

CONTRIBUTIONS

Court not bound by terms of contract where contract did not reflect realities of situation

Minister determined that housekeeping services were insurable employment although workers were held not to be employees. Head of agency appealed from determination made by Minister that insurable employment within meaning of Employment Insurance Act (Can.), existed. Appeal allowed. Application of control test determinative. Clients were often not present when workers were doing housekeeping. Although work not specialized workers had measure of independence in how they carried it out. Court not bound by terms of contract where contract did not reflect realities of situation. Agency contribution to expenses did not occur. Burden of proof rested on Minister. Minister failed to establish that workers were under direction and control of agency.
Barbeau c. Ministre du Revenu national (May. 22, 2015, T.C.C. [Employment Insurance], Robert J. Hogan J., File No. 2012-4560(EI), 2013-2811(EI)) 252 A.C.W.S. (3d) 736.

Taxation

INCOME TAX

Auditor did not take into account fair market value of donated wine bottles on international level

Taxpayer was wine aficionado who donated bottles of wine to charities. Wine bottles were auctioned off and proceeds were donated to registered charity in Gatineau, Quebec. In 2009, taxpayer donated three bottles of wine valued at amount of $350 each. In 2010, taxpayer donated three bottles of wine valued at total amount of $1,100. In 2011, taxpayer donated seven bottles of wine valued at total amount of $8,550. Minister reduced total amount of evaluation to $328, $344, and $2,672 for 2009-2011 taxation years respectively. Taxpayer appealed Minister’s assessments. Appeal allowed. Auditor did not take into account fair market value of wine bottles on international level. Auditor erroneously calculated capital investment, custom fees, transportation, sales tax, and insurances. Taxpayer provided sufficient documentary evidence. Auditor did not contradict taxpayer’s evidence.
De Santis c. R. (Apr. 17, 2015, T.C.C. [Informal Procedure], Robert J. Hogan J., File No. 2014-670(IT)I) 251 A.C.W.S. (3d) 529.

Taxation

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX

Proposed guarantor was not required to comply with rebate conditions

Purchaser entered into agreement of purchase and sale with builder to purchase home to be built. HZ was proposed guarantor of mortgage to finance purchase of house, and signed purchase of agreement and sale for that reason, but backed out before closing. FR became guarantor, but his replacement of HZ was not reflected in agreement of purchase and sale. Minister of National Revenue denied purchaser’s claim for new housing rebate under Excise Tax Act (Can.), on ground that purchaser and HZ did not satisfy condition of having intention that property be their primary place of residence. Purchaser appealed. Appeal allowed. HZ was not “particular individual” for purposes of s. 254(2)(a) of Act and was not required to comply with rebate conditions. HZ was only acting in capacity as agent in signing agreement of purchase and sale. Agent was not “recipient” as defined in s. 123(1) of Act. At commencement of hearing, Crown raised issue of whether purchaser intended property to be used as his primary place of residence. It was not fair for Crown to raise issue at such late stage and it was not considered.
Javaid v. R. (Apr. 17, 2015, T.C.C. [Informal Procedure], Judith M. Woods J., File No. 2014-1802(GST)I) 251 A.C.W.S. (3d) 525.

Constitutional Law

TAXATION

Human rights did not include right not to pay tax

Corporation wholly owned by taxpayer paid taxpayer certain amounts in 2007 through 2010 taxation years. Taxpayer reported some amounts as employment income, and other amounts were reported by corporation and taxpayer as subcontract payments. Canada Revenue Agency treated difference between what was reported by taxpayer and what was paid to him by corporation as income for 2007 through 2010. Taxpayer appealed. Appeal dismissed. Human rights as advanced in Canadian Constitution, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights treaties did not extend to not paying tax and did not include right not to pay tax. Taxpayer acknowledged that if his arguments did not succeed, amounts reassessed and penalties imposed would be properly payable.
R. v. Davis (Mar. 17, 2015, T.C.C. [Informal Procedure], Patrick Boyle J., File No. 2014-3081(IT)I) 251 A.C.W.S. (3d) 170.

Taxation

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX

Amount of assessments reduced to amount of relevant Federal Court certificates

Director was controlling mind of three companies who did engineering work for developer. Developer did not pay its bills on timely basis, resulting in three companies taking collection actions, and eventually executing lien. Minister of National Revenue assessed director under s. 323 of Excise Tax Act (Can.), for Goods and Services Tax (GST) that company TE Inc. failed to remit and $86,222.48 in GST that company 306 Canada Inc. (TM) failed to remit. Director appealed. Appeals allowed in part. Amount of assessments reduced to amount of relevant Federal Court certificates. Certificate that Minister registered with Federal Court of Canada for TM’s unremitted net GST was $11,896.19 less than amount assessed. Section 323(2)(a) of Act provided that Minister may not assess amount in excess of amount of Federal Court certificate. Director knew that three companies were facing significant cash flow issues due to developer failing to pay invoices and chose not to make remittances, believing that developer would eventually pay and remittances could be made in future. Director took no steps to prevent failure by three companies to make remittances. Failure to make remittances in belief that failure could be corrected in future did not constitute defence under s. 323(3) of Act. While director may not have been able to foresee events that occurred with respect to developer’s contract, he was person who made decision not to pay certain of three companies’ accounts payable, including remittances. Director was not entitled to rely upon due diligence defence in s. 323(3) of Act.
Maxwell v. R. (Mar. 25, 2015, T.C.C. [General Procedure], Steven K. D’Arcy J., File No. 2011-2668(IT)G, 2011-2669(GST)G, 2011-2687(IT)G, 2011-2688(GST)G) 250 A.C.W.S. (3d) 711
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