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Tax Measures: Supplementary Information
This annex provides detailed information on each of the tax measures proposed in the Budget.
Table 1 lists these measures and provides estimates of their budgetary impact.
The annex also provides the Notices of Ways and Means Motions to amend the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, the Excise Act, 2001 and other related legislation.
In this annex, references to “Budget Day” are to be read as references to the day on which this Budget is presented.
Personal Income Tax Measures
Disability Tax Credit – Nurse Practitioners
The disability tax credit is a 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit that recognizes the impact of non-itemizable disability-related costs on an individual’s ability to pay tax. For 2017, the credit amount is $8,113, which provides a federal tax reduction of up to $1,217.
To be eligible for the disability tax credit, an individual must have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. The effects of the impairment must be such that the individual is blind or, even with appropriate therapy:
- markedly restricted in the individual’s ability to perform a basic activity of daily living, due to the effects of one or more severe and prolonged impairments in mental or physical functions;
- significantly restricted in the individual’s ability to perform more than one basic activity of daily living if the cumulative effect of the restrictions is equivalent to having a single marked restriction in the ability to perform a basic activity of daily living; or
- would be markedly restricted were it not for extensive life sustaining therapy of at least three times a week for an average of at least 14 hours per week.
The basic activities of daily living are defined as: walking; feeding or dressing oneself; mental functions necessary for everyday life; speaking; hearing; and eliminating bodily waste.
An eligible medical practitioner must certify that the effects of the impairment result in the individual meeting one of the criteria listed above. The types of medical practitioners who are permitted to certify eligibility for the disability tax credit are specified in the Income Tax Act and currently include medical doctors, audiologists, occupational therapists, optometrists, physiotherapists, psychologists and speech-language pathologists. While medical doctors can certify all types of impairments, other practitioners may certify impairments in their respective fields, as summarized in the following table.
|Basis of Disability Tax Credit Certification||Type of Medical Practitioner|
|Vision||Medical doctor (MD) or optometrist|
|Marked restriction:||Speaking||MD or speech-language pathologist|
|Hearing||MD or audiologist|
|Walking||MD, occupational therapist or physiotherapist|
|Elimination of bodily waste||MD|
|Feeding or dressing||MD or occupational therapist|
|Mental functions||MD or psychologist|
|Cumulative effects of significant restrictions||MD (all restrictions) or occupational therapist (walking, feeding and dressing only)|
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional educational preparation and experience who possess and demonstrate the competencies to diagnose autonomously, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe pharmaceuticals, and perform specific procedures within their legislated scope of practice. Examples of the types of health care services provided by nurse practitioners include annual physicals, health promotion, treatment for short-term acute illnesses and monitoring patients with stable chronic illnesses.
The nurse practitioner profession is regulated by provincial and territorial nursing regulatory bodies throughout Canada. The scope of practice of nurse practitioners is set out in provincial/territorial legislation and regulation.
Budget 2017 proposes to add nurse practitioners to the list of medical practitioners that could certify eligibility for the disability tax credit. A nurse practitioner would be permitted to certify for all types of impairments that are within the scope of their practice.
This measure will apply to disability tax credit certifications made on or after Budget Day.
Medical Expense Tax Credit – Eligible Expenditures
The medical expense tax credit is a 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit that recognizes the effect of above-average medical or disability-related expenses on an individual’s ability to pay tax. For 2017, the medical expense tax credit is available for qualifying medical expenses in excess of the lesser of $2,268 and three per cent of the individual’s net income.
Many of the costs related to the use of reproductive technologies are eligible expenses for the medical expense tax credit. For example, amounts paid for prescription drugs are generally eligible to be claimed under the credit, including the cost of prescribed fertility medication. In-vitro fertilization procedures and associated expenses, where the procedures are medically indicated because an individual has an existing illness or condition (such as the medical condition of infertility), are also generally recognized as eligible expenses under the credit.
To recognize that some individuals may need to incur costs related to the use of reproductive technologies, even where such treatment is not medically indicated because of a medical infertility condition, Budget 2017 proposes to clarify the application of the medical expense tax credit so that individuals who require medical intervention in order to conceive a child are eligible to claim the same expenses that would generally be eligible for individuals on account of medical infertility.
This measure will apply to the 2017 and subsequent taxation years. A taxpayer will be entitled to elect in a year for this measure to apply for any of the immediately preceding ten taxation years in their return of income in respect of the year.
Consolidation of Caregiver Credits
Tax relief for caregivers is provided in the income tax system through a number of non-refundable tax credits. These credits provide recognition of the impact of the non-discretionary, out-of-pocket expenses that caregivers incur on their ability to pay tax.
The current system includes three credits, with varying eligibility conditions based on the circumstances of the caregiver and the dependant (amounts shown are for 2017):
- Infirm dependant credit: A 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit for individuals supporting an adult family member (other than a spouse or common-law partner) who is dependent on the caregiver by reason of physical or mental infirmity. There is no requirement that the dependant live with the claimant. The maximum amount on which the credit is available is $6,883. The credit amount is reduced dollar-for-dollar by the dependant’s net income above $6,902 and is completely phased out at an income of $13,785.
- Caregiver credit: A 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit for individuals providing in-home care to family members who are either senior parents or grandparents (65 years of age or over) or certain adult family members who are dependent on the caregiver by reason of infirmity. The maximum amount on which the credit is available is $4,732, or $6,882 if the dependant is infirm. This credit amount is reduced dollar-for-dollar by the dependant’s net income above $16,163 and is completely phased out at an income of $20,895, or at $23,045 for an infirm dependant.
- Family caregiver tax credit: A 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $2,150 that provides relief to caregivers of family members who are dependent on them by reason of infirmity, through a top-up to the other dependency-related credits (i.e., the caregiver credit, the infirm dependant credit, the spousal or common-law partner credit and the eligible dependant credit). However, the family caregiver tax credit is provided independently in respect of a minor infirm child (given the absence of a dependency-related credit in the tax system in respect of all minor children). The family caregiver tax credit is always available when an infirm dependant credit is claimed in respect of an individual (and is reflected in the value of the infirm dependant credit noted above).
Budget 2017 proposes to simplify the existing system of tax measures for caregivers by replacing the existing caregiver credit, infirm dependant credit and family caregiver tax credit with a new Canada Caregiver Credit. This new credit will be better targeted to support those who need it the most and extend tax relief to some caregivers who may not currently qualify due to the income level of their dependant. It will provide tax assistance to caregivers for dependants who have an infirmity and are dependent on the caregiver for support by reason of that infirmity.
Budget 2017 proposes that the new Canada Caregiver Credit amount will be:
- $6,883 in respect of infirm dependants who are parents/grandparents, brothers/sisters, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, adult children of the claimant or of the claimant’s spouse or common law partner.
- $2,150 in respect of
- an infirm dependent spouse or common-law partner in respect of whom the individual claims the spouse or common-law partner amount,
- an infirm dependant for whom the individual claims an eligible dependant credit, or
- an infirm child who is under the age of 18 years at the end of the tax year.
These amounts are consistent with the amounts that could have been claimed in respect of these dependants under the current caregiver credit and family caregiver tax credit, respectively.
The Canada Caregiver Credit will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the dependant’s net income above $16,163 (in 2017). The dependant will not be required to live with the caregiver in order for the caregiver to claim the new credit. The Canada Caregiver Credit will no longer be available in respect of non-infirm seniors who reside with their adult children.
Other rules will remain the same as under the current provisions. For example:
- Only one Canada Caregiver Credit amount will be available in respect of each infirm dependant. The credit could, however, be shared by multiple caregivers who support the same dependant, provided that the total claim does not exceed the maximum annual amount for that dependant.
- Where a claim for an eligible dependant amount or spousal or common-law partner amount is made in respect of an infirm dependant, no other individual other than the individual who has claimed the eligible dependant amount or the spousal or common-law partner amount will be allowed to claim the Canada Caregiver Credit in respect of that dependant.
- An individual will not be able to claim the Canada Caregiver Credit in respect of a particular person if the individual is required to pay a support amount for that person to their former spouse or common-law partner.
In cases where an individual claims a spousal or common-law partner amount or an eligible dependant amount in respect of an infirm family member, the individual must claim the Canada Caregiver Credit at the lesser amount ($2,150 in 2017). Where this results in less tax relief than would be available if the higher amount ($6,883 in 2017) were claimed, an additional amount will be provided to offset this difference.
The Canada Caregiver Credit will apply for the 2017 and subsequent taxation years. The credit amounts that may be claimed and the income thresholds above which the credit will begin to be phased out will be indexed to inflation for taxation years after 2017.
Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for Flow-Through Share Investors
Flow-through shares allow resource companies to renounce or “flow through” tax expenses associated with their Canadian exploration activities to investors, who can deduct the expenses in calculating their own taxable income. The mineral exploration tax credit provides an additional income tax benefit for individuals who invest in mining flow-through shares, which augments the tax benefits associated with the deductions that are flowed through. This credit is equal to 15 per cent of specified mineral exploration expenses incurred in Canada and renounced to flow-through share investors. Like flow-through shares, the credit facilitates the raising of equity to fund exploration by enabling companies to issue shares at a premium.
The Government proposes to extend eligibility for the mineral exploration tax credit for an additional year, to flow-through share agreements entered into on or before March 31, 2018. Under the existing “look-back” rule, funds raised in one calendar year with the benefit of the credit can be spent on eligible exploration up to the end of the following calendar year. Therefore, for example, funds raised with the credit during the first three months of 2018 can support eligible exploration until the end of 2019.
Mineral exploration, as well as new mining and related processing activities that could follow from successful exploration efforts, can be associated with a variety of environmental impacts to soil, water and air and, as a result, could have an impact on the targets and actions in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. All such activity, however, is subject to applicable federal and provincial environmental regulations, including project-specific environmental assessments where required.
Electronic Distribution of T4 Information Slips
Issuers of information returns are required to provide two copies of the relevant portion of the return to each taxpayer to whom it relates, either by sending the return to the taxpayer’s last known address or by delivering it to the taxpayer. These copies may be sent electronically only if the relevant taxpayer has given express consent (i.e., in writing or in an electronic format) in advance.
In order to reduce compliance costs and increase efficiencies for employers, as well as increase convenience for many employees, Budget 2017 proposes to allow employers to distribute T4 (Statement of Remuneration Paid) information slips electronically to current active employees without having to obtain express consent from those employees in advance. An employer will be required to have sufficient privacy safeguards in place before electronic T4s can be sent without express consent, in order to ensure that employee information remains confidential. These safeguards will be specified by the Minister of National Revenue and will include provisions requiring employers to provide paper T4s to employees who do not have confidential access to view or print their T4s (e.g., employees on leave and former employees). In addition, employers will be required to issue paper copies to employees who request them.
This measure will apply in respect of T4s issued for the 2017 and subsequent taxation years.
Tuition Tax Credit
The tuition tax credit is a 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit in respect of eligible fees for tuition and licensing examinations paid by an individual enrolled at an eligible educational institution. An eligible educational institution in Canada is:
- a university, college or other educational institution providing courses at a post-secondary school level; or
- an institution certified by the Minister of Employment and Social Development to be an educational institution providing courses, other than courses designed for university credit, that furnish a person with skills for, or improve a person's skills in, an occupation (an “occupational skills course”).
A tuition tax credit is not available for occupational skills courses that are offered by a university, college or other post-secondary institution and that are not at the post-secondary level.
Budget 2017 proposes to extend the eligibility criteria for the tuition tax credit to fees for an individual’s tuition paid to a university, college or other post-secondary institution in Canada for occupational skills courses that are not at the post-secondary level. To provide consistency with the rules for certified educational institutions, the tuition tax credit would be available in these circumstances only if the course is taken for the purpose of providing the individual with skills (or improving the individual’s skills) in an occupation and the individual has attained the age of 16 before the end of the year.
This measure will apply in respect of eligible tuition fees for courses taken after 2016.
Budget 2017 also proposes to extend eligibility as a “qualifying student” to individuals in the specific circumstances described above, who otherwise meet the conditions to be a “qualifying student”. Whether or not an individual is a “qualifying student” is relevant for the tax exemption for scholarship and bursary income.
This measure will apply to the 2017 and subsequent taxation years.
National Child Benefit Supplement
Budget 2016 introduced the Canada Child Benefit, replacing the previous child benefit system, which consisted of the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit supplement and the Universal Child Care Benefit. Payments under the new Canada Child Benefit began in July 2016.
Most provinces and territories have been using information on individuals’ federally determined National Child Benefit supplement amounts to calculate adjustments to provincial/territorial social assistance and child benefit amounts. To provide time for provinces and territories to make the necessary changes to their social assistance and child benefit programs following the elimination of the National Child Benefit supplement, a reference to the National Child Benefit supplement was retained in the Canada Child Benefit rules, although this does not affect the calculation of the Canada Child Benefit. This reference is currently legislated to be repealed, effective July 1, 2017.
In light of the policy, legislative and administrative changes many provinces and territories need to implement in order to no longer rely on federally determined National Child Benefit supplement amounts to calculate adjustments to social assistance and child benefit amounts, Budget 2017 proposes to delay the repeal of the National Child Benefit supplement reference in the Canada Child Benefit rules in the Income Tax Act until July 1, 2018. This modification will have no implications for the calculation of the Canada Child Benefit.
Ecological Gifts Program
The ecological gifts program provides a way for Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to contribute to the protection of Canada’s environmental heritage. Under this program, certain donations of ecologically sensitive land or easements, covenants and servitudes on such land (ecogifts) are eligible for special tax assistance. Individual donors are eligible for a charitable donation tax credit, while corporate donors are eligible for a charitable donation tax deduction. The amount of the donation, up to 100 per cent of net income, may be claimed in a year and unused amounts may be carried forward for up to ten years. In addition, any capital gains associated with the donation of ecologically sensitive land (other than a donation to a private foundation) are exempt from tax.
The ecogift program is primarily administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). In order for a gift to meet the requirements of the ecogift program, the Minister of ECCC must:
- certify that the land is ecologically sensitive and that its conservation and protection is important to the preservation of Canada’s environmental heritage;
- approve the organization that will receive the gift, if it is a registered charity; and
- certify the fair market value of the donation.
In addition, any easements, covenants or servitudes must run in perpetuity in order to qualify as ecogifts.
To help ensure that donated land is not subsequently used for other purposes, the Income Tax Act imposes a tax of 50 per cent of the fair market value of the land upon a recipient who, without the consent of ECCC, changes the use of the property or disposes of it. The Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for assessing and collecting the tax in such situations.
Budget 2017 proposes a number of measures in order to better protect gifts of ecologically sensitive land.
Transfers of ecogifts
Where ecogifts are transferred between organizations for consideration, the protection offered by the 50-per-cent tax (which applies where the use of the property is changed, or the property is disposed of, without the consent of ECCC) may be inappropriately lost. To ensure that transfers of ecogifts from one organization to another do not result in the loss of this protection, Budget 2017 proposes that the transferee of the property in such a situation be subject to the 50-per-cent tax if the transferee changes the use of the property, or disposes of the property, without the consent of ECCC.
To ensure the effective operation of the ecogift program, Budget 2017 also proposes to clarify that the Minister of ECCC has the ability to determine whether proposed changes to the use of lands would degrade conservation protections.
Approval of recipients
Where it is proposed that a registered charity be the recipient of an ecogift, the Minister of ECCC must approve the recipient on a gift-by-gift basis. This is intended to ensure that recipients of ecogifts are focused on the long-term protection of ecologically sensitive land. However, municipalities and municipal and public bodies performing a function of government are automatically eligible recipients. Budget 2017 also proposes that the requirement to approve recipients be extended, on a gift-by-gift basis, to municipalities and municipal and public bodies performing a function of government.
The Income Tax Act categorizes registered charities as charitable organizations, public foundations or private foundations. Usually, a majority of the directors of a private foundation do not operate at arm’s length from one another. In addition, the main donors to a private foundation are typically part of the group that controls the foundation or are persons who do not deal at arm’s length with the controlling group. Private foundations can currently receive ecogifts, but this can give rise to concerns about potential conflicts of interest. For example, where a director of a private foundation donates an easement in respect of a property to the private foundation, the individuals responsible for enforcing the private foundation’s rights under the easement would often be the same persons as those against whom the rights must be enforced. To prevent these potential conflicts of interest, Budget 2017 also proposes that private foundations no longer be permitted to receive ecogifts.
In Quebec, where civil law applies, both real servitudes and personal servitudes can exist. However, only real servitudes may be donated under the ecogift program since personal servitudes cannot run in perpetuity. As the conditions associated with real servitudes can be difficult to meet, such donations are infrequently made. To encourage more ecogifts in Quebec, Budget 2017 also proposes that certain donations of personal servitudes qualify as ecogifts. Qualifying donations will be required to meet a number of conditions, including a requirement that the personal servitude run for at least 100 years.
These measures will apply in respect of transactions or events that occur on or after Budget Day.
Public Transit Tax Credit
The public transit tax credit provides a 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit in respect of the cost of eligible public transit passes, which include annual and monthly passes, as well as weekly passes and electronic fare cards used on an ongoing basis.
Budget 2017 proposes that the public transit tax credit be eliminated, effective as of July 1, 2017. Specifically, the cost of public transit passes and electronic fare cards attributable to public transit use that occurs after June 2017 will no longer be eligible for the credit.
Allowances for Members of Legislative Assemblies and Certain Municipal Officers
The reimbursement of expenses incurred in the course of carrying out the duties of an office or employment is generally not a taxable benefit to the recipient. By contrast, a non-accountable allowance for which an individual does not have to provide details or submit receipts to justify amounts paid is generally a taxable benefit.
Certain officials may, however, receive non-accountable allowances for work expenses that are not included in computing income for tax purposes. These officials are:
- elected members of provincial and territorial legislative assemblies and officers of incorporated municipalities;
- elected officers of municipal utilities boards, commissions, corporations or similar bodies; and
- members of public or separate school boards or of similar bodies governing a school district.
The excluded amount is limited to half of the official’s salary or other remuneration received in that capacity in the year.
Budget 2017 proposes to require that non-accountable allowances paid to these officials be included in income. The reimbursement of employment expenses will remain a non-taxable benefit to the recipient.
In order to provide affected organizations more time to adjust their compensation schemes, this measure will apply to the 2019 and subsequent taxation years.
Home Relocation Loans Deduction
Where a person receives a loan because of their employment, and the interest rate on the loan is below a prescribed rate, that person is deemed to have received a taxable benefit. The amount of the taxable benefit is determined by reference to the difference between these two rates.
The value of any portion of the benefit that is in respect of an eligible home relocation loan may be deductible from taxable income. However, the amount deductible is generally limited to the annual benefit that would arise if the amount of the loan were $25,000. Eligible home relocation loans are loans used to acquire a new residence where the employee starts work at a new location. This new residence must be at least 40 kilometres closer to the new work location than the old residence.
Budget 2017 proposes to eliminate the deduction in respect of eligible home relocation loans.
This measure will apply to benefits arising in the 2018 and subsequent taxation years.
Anti-avoidance Rules for Registered Plans
Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) help families accumulate savings for a child’s post-secondary education. Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) allow persons with disabilities – and their families – to better save for their future.
RESPs and RDSPs are tax-assisted registered plans. Grants and bonds received by these plans from the government (e.g., Canada Education Savings Grants and Canada Learning Bonds for RESPs and Canada Disability Savings Grants and Canada Disability Savings Bonds for RDSPs) are taxable only when they are withdrawn. In addition, investment income that accumulates in the plans is taxable only when it is withdrawn.
A number of anti-avoidance rules exist for other tax-assisted registered plans (i.e., Tax-Free Savings Accounts, Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Registered Retirement Income Funds) to help ensure that the plans do not provide excessive tax advantages unrelated to their respective basic objectives. These include:
- the advantage rules, which help prevent the exploitation of the tax attributes of a registered plan (e.g., by shifting returns from a taxable investment to a registered plan);
- the prohibited investment rules, which generally ensure that investments held by a registered plan are arm’s length “portfolio” investments; and
- the non-qualified investment rules, which restrict the classes of investments that may be held by a registered plan.
To improve the consistency of the tax rules that apply to investments held by registered plans, Budget 2017 proposes to extend the anti-avoidance rules described above to RESPs and RDSPs. These proposals are not expected to have an impact on the vast majority of RESP and RDSP holders, who typically invest in ordinary portfolio investments.
Subject to the exceptions described below, this measure will apply to transactions occurring, and investments acquired, after Budget Day. For this purpose, investment income generated after Budget Day on previously acquired investments will be considered to be a “transaction occurring” after Budget Day. The exceptions to this effective date are as follows:
- The advantage rules will not apply to swap transactions undertaken before July 2017. However, swap transactions undertaken to ensure that an RESP or RDSP complies with the new rules by removing an investment that would otherwise be considered a prohibited investment, or an investment which gives rise to an advantage under the new proposals, will be permitted until the end of 2021.
- Subject to certain conditions, a plan holder may elect by April 1, 2018 to pay Part I tax (in lieu of the advantage tax) on distributions of investment income from an investment held on Budget Day that becomes a prohibited investment as a result of this measure.
Business Income Tax Measures
Investment Fund Mergers
The Income Tax Act contains specific rules to facilitate the reorganization of certain investment funds on a tax-deferred basis. However, these rules apply in a limited number of circumstances.
Merger of switch corporations into mutual fund trusts
Canadian mutual funds can be in the legal form of a trust or a corporation. While most funds are structured as mutual fund trusts, some are structured as mutual fund corporations. Switch corporations are mutual fund corporations with multiple classes of shares, where typically each class is a distinct investment fund.
The Income Tax Act contains special rules to facilitate the merger of mutual funds on a tax-deferred basis, under which two mutual fund trusts can be merged or a mutual fund corporation can be merged into a mutual fund trust. These rules permit funds to be tax-efficiently reorganized so as to achieve economies of scale and avoid the duplication of expenses. However, these rules do not provide for the reorganization of a mutual fund corporation into multiple mutual fund trusts.
Budget 2017 proposes to extend the mutual fund merger rules to facilitate the reorganization of a mutual fund corporation that is structured as a switch corporation into multiple mutual fund trusts on a tax-deferred basis. To qualify for this tax deferral, in respect of each class of shares of the mutual fund corporation that is or is part of an investment fund, all or substantially all of the assets allocable to that class must be transferred to a mutual fund trust and the shareholders of that class must become unitholders of that mutual fund trust.
This measure will apply to qualifying reorganizations that occur on or after Budget Day.
Segregated fund mergers
Segregated funds are life insurance policies that have many of the characteristics of mutual fund trusts. Unlike mutual fund trusts, income tax rules do not permit segregated funds to merge on a tax-deferred basis.
To provide consistent treatment between mutual fund trusts and segregated funds, Budget 2017 proposes to allow insurers to effect tax-deferred mergers of segregated funds. It is proposed that these rules generally parallel the mutual fund merger rules.
In addition, it is proposed that, for non-capital losses that arise in taxation years that begin after 2017, a segregated fund be able to carry over those losses and apply them in computing its taxable income for taxation years that begin after 2017. The use of these losses will be subject to the normal limitations for the carrying forward and back of non-capital losses. As is the case with the mutual fund merger rules, the use of these losses will be restricted following a segregated fund merger.
In order to ensure that the life insurance industry has an opportunity to provide comments on these proposed rules, this measure will apply to mergers of segregated funds carried out after 2017 and to losses arising in taxation years that begin after 2017, as described above.
Clean Energy Generation Equipment: Geothermal Energy
Under the capital cost allowance (CCA) regime, Classes 43.1 and 43.2 of Schedule II to the Income Tax Regulations provide accelerated CCA rates (30 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, on a declining-balance basis) for investment in specified clean energy generation and conservation equipment. Both classes include eligible equipment that generates or conserves energy by:
- using a renewable energy source (e.g., wind, solar or small hydro);
- using a fuel from waste (e.g., landfill gas, wood waste or manure); or
- making efficient use of fossil fuels (e.g., high efficiency cogeneration systems, which simultaneously produce electricity and useful heat).
Providing accelerated CCA is an exception to the general practice of setting CCA rates based on the useful life of assets. Accelerated CCA provides a financial benefit by deferring taxation. Class 43.2 is available in respect of property acquired before 2020.
In addition, if the majority of the tangible property in a project is eligible for inclusion in Class 43.1 or 43.2, certain intangible project start-up expenses (for example, engineering and design work and feasibility studies) are treated as Canadian renewable and conservation expenses. These expenses may be deducted in full in the year incurred, carried forward indefinitely for use in future years or transferred to investors using flow-through shares.
Geothermal heating is the extraction and direct use of thermal energy generated in the earth’s interior. Equipment that uses geothermal energy is currently eligible for inclusion in Class 43.2 (50-per-cent rate) if it is primarily used for the purpose of generating electricity, while equipment used primarily for heating purposes is generally included in Class 1 (4-per-cent rate).
The costs of drilling and completing exploratory wells are fully deductible in the year they are incurred as Canadian renewable and conservation expenses when it is reasonable to expect that at least 50 per cent of the capital cost of the depreciable property will be used in an electricity generation project included in Class 43.1 or 43.2. The costs of drilling and completing geothermal production wells for an electricity generation project that qualifies for Class 43.2 are included in Class 43.2. In contrast, the costs of drilling and completing geothermal wells for projects that do not meet this electricity generation threshold (e.g., projects focussed on supplying heat) could be included in Class 1 (4-per-cent rate), Class 17 (8-per-cent rate), Class 14.1 (5-per-cent rate) or treated as a current expense, depending on the circumstances.
District energy systems transfer thermal energy between a central generation plant and one or more buildings by circulating (through a system of pipes) an energy transfer medium that is heated or cooled using thermal energy. Thermal energy distributed by a district energy system can be used for heating, cooling or in an industrial process. Certain equipment that is part of a district energy system is currently included in Class 43.1 or 43.2. Geothermal heat is not currently eligible as a thermal energy source for use in a district energy system.
Budget 2017 proposes three changes in this area. First, it proposes that eligible geothermal energy equipment under Classes 43.1 and 43.2 be expanded to include geothermal equipment that is used primarily for the purpose of generating heat or a combination of heat and electricity. Eligible costs will include the cost of completing a geothermal well (e.g., installing the wellhead and production string) and, for systems that produce electricity, the cost of related electricity transmission equipment. As with active solar heating and ground source heat pump systems, equipment used for the purpose of heating a swimming pool will not be eligible. Secondly, geothermal heating will be made an eligible thermal energy source for use in a district energy system. Lastly, expenses incurred for the purpose of determining the extent and quality of a geothermal resource and the cost of all geothermal drilling (e.g., including geothermal production wells), for both electricity and heating projects, will qualify as a Canadian renewable and conservation expense.
These measures will encourage investment in technologies that can contribute to a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, in support of targets set out in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Accelerated CCA will be available in respect of eligible property only if, at the time the property first becomes available for use, the requirements of all environmental laws, by-laws and regulations applicable in respect of the property have been met. Similarly, Canadian renewable and conservation expense treatment will be available for expenses in geothermal projects only if, in the year incurred, such expenses meet the requirements of all applicable environmental laws, by-laws and regulations.
The measures will apply in respect of property acquired for use on or after Budget Day that has not been used or acquired for use before Budget Day.
Canadian Exploration Expense: Oil and Gas Discovery Wells
Expenditures associated with drilling an oil or gas well that results in the discovery of a previously unknown petroleum or natural gas reservoir (i.e., the first well in a new reservoir, referred to as a “discovery well”) are currently treated as a Canadian exploration expense (CEE). CEE may be deducted in full in the year incurred. In contrast, expenditures associated with drilling a well, other than a discovery well, are generally treated as a Canadian development expense (CDE). CDE may be deducted at a rate of 30 per cent per year on a declining-balance basis.
Flow-through share agreements allow corporations to renounce both CEE and CDE to investors, who can deduct the expenses in calculating their own taxable income (at a 100-per-cent or 30-per-cent rate on a declining-balance basis respectively). Under the existing “look-back” rule, eligible expenses in respect of funds raised in one calendar year under a flow-through share agreement can be renounced with an effective date in the year even though the eligible expenditures are incurred during the following calendar year.
Expenditures relating to the acquisition of an asset of an enduring benefit are generally capitalized and deductible over the economic life of the asset. In principle, therefore, the costs of successful exploration, which leads to production, would be deducted gradually over time – as in the case of development expenses. In contrast, the costs of unsuccessful exploration, which does not lead to an exploitable asset, would be fully deductible in the year incurred. In practice, it is often not possible to determine whether or not exploration spending has been successful in the year when the expenses are incurred, since it is often several years afterwards before decisions on production are made.
This said, some expenditures currently considered CEE can more clearly be linked to success. In particular, expenditures associated with a discovery well (the first well in a new reservoir) are currently considered CEE despite the fact that such wells are typically able to be used, and often are used, for the production of oil and gas. This component of drilling expenditures represents a majority of the oil and gas costs that currently qualify for CEE.
Budget 2017 proposes that expenditures related to drilling or completing a discovery well (or in building a temporary access road to, or in preparing a site in respect of, any such well) generally be classified as CDE instead of CEE. This will ensure that expenditures more clearly linked to success are deducted gradually over time as development expenses.
Consistent with the existing rules, drilling expenditures can continue to be classified as CEE, or reclassified as CEE, in situations where the well has been abandoned (or has not produced within 24 months) or the Minister of Natural Resources has certified that the relevant costs associated with drilling the well are expected to exceed $5 million and it will not produce within 24 months. In addition, CEE treatment will continue to be available for other expenses such as early stage geophysical and geochemical surveying. CEE treatment in these cases is generally an efficient and reasonable tax treatment.
This measure will apply to expenses incurred after 2018 (including expenses incurred in 2019 that could have been deemed to have been incurred in 2018 because of the “look-back” rule). However, the measure will not apply to expenses actually incurred before 2021 where the taxpayer has, before Budget Day, entered into a written commitment (including a commitment to a government under the terms of a license or permit) to incur those expenses.
Oil and gas development is associated with environmental impacts, including the release of air and water contaminants, the emission of greenhouse gases and the disturbance of natural habitat and wildlife. The tax treatment of oil and gas exploration costs is only one of many factors that influence investment decisions, but to the extent that the revised treatment impacts investment decisions, this measure could reduce environmental impacts. By improving the neutrality of the tax system, this measure supports Canada’s international commitments to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and indirectly supports the targets and actions in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, including those related to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Reclassification of Expenses Renounced to Flow-Through Share Investors
An eligible small oil and gas corporation (i.e., with taxable capital employed in Canada of not more than $15 million) can currently treat up to $1 million of Canadian development expenses (CDE) as Canadian exploration expenses (CEE) when renounced to shareholders under a flow-through share agreement. CDE is deductible at a rate of 30 per cent per year on a declining-balance basis. CEE is fully deductible in the year it is incurred.
Flow-through share agreements allow a corporation to renounce CEE or CDE that it incurs after the agreement date to investors, who can then deduct the expenses in calculating their own taxable income. This lowers the after-tax cost of the corporation’s shares and facilitates the raising of equity by enabling the corporation to issue shares at a premium relative to normal shares of the same class. By increasing the deduction rate on expenses renounced in association with the flow-through shares from 30 per cent to 100 per cent, this preferential treatment accelerates tax deductions and thereby increases the net present value of the transferred tax deductions, further enhancing the value of the flow-through shares being issued.
Under the existing “look-back” rule, eligible expenses in respect of funds raised in one calendar year under a flow-through share agreement can be renounced with an effective date in the year even though the eligible expenditures are incurred during the following calendar year.
Budget 2017 proposes to no longer permit eligible small oil and gas corporations to treat the first $1 million of CDE as CEE. This measure will apply in respect of expenses incurred after 2018 (including expenses incurred in 2019 that could have been deemed to be incurred in 2018 because of the look-back rule), with the exception of expenses incurred after 2018 and before April 2019 that are renounced under a flow-through share agreement entered into after 2016 and before Budget Day.
Oil and gas development is associated with environmental impacts, including the release of air and water contaminants, the emission of greenhouse gases and the disturbance of natural habitat and wildlife. The tax treatment of oil and gas development costs is only one of many factors that influence investment decisions, but to the extent that the revised treatment impacts investment decisions, this measure could reduce environmental impacts. By improving the neutrality of the tax system, this measure supports Canada’s international commitments to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and indirectly supports the targets and actions in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, including those relating to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Meaning of Factual Control
The Income Tax Act recognizes two forms of control of a corporation: de jure (legal) control and de facto (factual) control. The concept of factual control is broader than legal control and is generally used to ensure that certain corporate tax preferences are not accessed inappropriately. For example, the factual control test is used for the purpose of determining whether two or more Canadian-controlled private corporations are “associated corporations”. Associated corporations must be considered together in determining whether certain thresholds are met, such as the $500,000 small business deduction limit and the limit on qualifying expenditures relating to the refundable 35-per-cent scientific research and experimental development tax credit.
A person may have factual control of a corporation even though the person does not have legal control of the corporation. Legal control of a corporation generally entails the right to elect the majority of the board of directors of the corporation. Factual control of a corporation exists where a person has “directly or indirectly in any manner whatever” influence that, if exercised, would result in control in fact of the corporation. In each situation, consideration of all the relevant factors is required in determining whether there is factual control of a corporation. A significant body of case law has developed concerning which factors may be useful in determining whether factual control exists.
A recent court decision held that, in order for a factor to be considered in determining whether factual control exists, it must include “a legally enforceable right and ability to effect a change to the board of directors or its powers, or to exercise influence over the shareholder or shareholders who have that right and ability”. This requirement limits the scope of factors that may be taken into consideration in determining whether factual control of a corporation exists. It is not intended from a policy perspective that the factual control test be dependent on the existence of such a legally enforceable right, or that factors that do not include such a right ought to be disregarded.
To ensure taxpayers do not inappropriately access certain tax preferences, Budget 2017 proposes that the Income Tax Act be amended to clarify that, in determining whether factual control of a corporation exists, factors may be considered that are not limited to the requirement set out above.
This measure will apply in respect of taxation years that begin on or after Budget Day.
Timing of Recognition of Gains and Losses on Derivatives
Derivatives are sophisticated financial instruments whose value is derived from the value of an underlying interest. Aside from the mark-to-market property regime applicable to financial institutions, there are no specific rules in the Income Tax Act that govern the timing of the recognition of gains and losses on derivatives held on income account. Budget 2017 proposes two measures that clarify the scheme of the Income Tax Act in this regard.
Elective use of the mark-to-market method
In the past, there was uncertainty as to whether taxpayers could mark to market their derivatives held on income account under the general principles of profit computation.
A recent decision of the Federal Court of Appeal allowed a taxpayer that was not a financial institution to use the mark-to-market method on the basis that it provided an accurate picture of the taxpayer’s income. The mark-to-market method has a number of advantages including, for a taxpayer, the potential reduction of book-to-tax differences and, for the Government, the elimination of the possibility for the selective realization of gains and losses on such derivatives by removing the taxpayer’s control over when these gains and losses are recognized for tax purposes.
To provide a clear framework for exercising the choice of using the mark-to-market method and to ensure that this choice does not lead to avoidance opportunities, Budget 2017 proposes to introduce an elective mark-to-market regime for derivatives held on income account. Specifically, an election will allow taxpayers to mark to market all of their eligible derivatives. Once made, the election will remain effective for all subsequent years unless revoked with the consent of the Minister of National Revenue.
In general terms, an eligible derivative will be any derivative held on income account that meets certain conditions, including that the derivative is valued in accordance with accounting principles at its fair value in a taxpayer’s audited financial statements or otherwise has a readily ascertainable fair market value.
Once an election is made by a taxpayer, the taxpayer will be required to annually include in computing its income the increase or decrease in value of its eligible derivatives. Furthermore, the recognition of any accrued gain or loss on an eligible derivative (that was previously subject to tax on a realization basis) at the beginning of the first election year will be deferred until the derivative is disposed of.
This election will be available for taxation years that begin on or after Budget Day.
To the extent that the use of the realization method for computing gains and losses on derivatives held on income account can be supported in a given case, it may allow taxpayers to selectively realize gains and losses on these derivatives through, for example, straddle transactions.
In itssimplest form, a straddle is a transaction in which a taxpayer concurrently enters into two or more positions – often derivative positions – that are expected to generate equal and offsetting gains and losses. Shortly before its taxation year-end, the taxpayer disposes of the position with the accrued loss (the losing leg) and realizes the loss. Shortly after the beginning of the following taxation year, the taxpayer disposes of the offsetting position with the accrued gain (the winning leg) and realizes the gain. The taxpayer claims a deduction in respect of the realized loss against other income in the initial taxation year and defers the recognition of the offsetting gain until the following taxation year. The taxpayer claims the benefit of the deferral although economically the two positions are offsetting. Moreover, the taxpayer could attempt to indefinitely defer the recognition of the gain on the winning leg by entering into successive straddle transactions.
There are several variations to this basic straddle transaction, including combining it with an exit strategy that shifts the offsetting gain to a tax-indifferent investor.
Straddle transactions raise significant tax base and fairness concerns. Although these transactions are being challenged using certain judicial principles and existing provisions of the Income Tax Act, including the general anti-avoidance rule, these challenges can be time-consuming and costly. Accordingly, specific legislation is proposed to clarify that these transactions contravene the scheme of the Income Tax Act.
Budget 2017 proposes to introduce a specific anti-avoidance rule that targets straddle transactions. In particular, a stop-loss rule will effectively defer the realization of any loss on the disposition of a position to the extent of any unrealized gain on an offsetting position. A gain in respect of an offsetting position would generally be unrealized where the offsetting position has not been disposed of and is not subject to mark-to-market taxation.
For the purposes of the stop-loss rule, a position will generally be defined as including any interest in actively traded personal properties (e.g., commodities), as well as derivatives and certain debt obligations. An offsetting position with respect to a position held by a taxpayer will generally be a position that has the effect of eliminating all or substantially all of the taxpayer’s risk of loss and opportunity for gain or profit in respect of the position.
The stop-loss rule will be subject to a number of exceptions. In particular, it will generally not apply to a position if:
- it is held by a financial institution, as defined for the purposes of the mark-to-market property rules, or by a mutual fund trust or mutual fund corporation;
- it is part of certain types of hedging transactions entered into in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s business;
- the taxpayer continues to hold the offsetting position throughout a specified period that begins on the date of disposition of the position; or
- it is part of a transaction or a series of transactions none of the main purposes of which is to defer or avoid tax.
This measure will apply to any loss realized on a position entered into on or after Budget Day.
Additional Deduction for Gifts of Medicine
A donation made by a corporation to a registered charity is deductible in computing the corporation’s taxable income within certain limits. Corporations that donate medicine from their inventory to an eligible charity can claim an additional deduction equal to the lesser of the cost of the donated medicine and 50 per cent of the amount by which the fair market value of the donated medicine exceeds its cost. An eligible charity is a registered charity that meets the conditions prescribed by regulation.
Budget 2017 proposes to eliminate the additional deduction for gifts of medicine. This measure does not affect the general income tax treatment of donations made by corporations to registered charities, including donations of medicine.
This measure will apply to gifts of medicine made on or after Budget Day.
Investment Tax Credit for Child Care Spaces
The investment tax credit for child care spaces provides a 25-per-cent non-refundable tax credit on costs incurred to build or expand child care spaces in licensed child care facilities. These facilities must be for the benefit of children of the taxpayer’s employees and must be ancillary to the taxpayer’s business. The maximum value of the credit is $10,000 per space created. Unused amounts can be carried back three years and forward 20 years.
Budget 2017 proposes to eliminate the investment tax credit for child care spaces.
This measure will apply in respect of expenditures incurred on or after Budget Day. To provide transitional relief, the credit will be available in respect of eligible expenditures incurred before 2020 pursuant to a written agreement entered into before Budget Day.
Insurers of Farming and Fishing Property
Insurers of farming and fishing property benefit from a tax exemption based upon the proportion of their gross premium income, and that of their affiliated insurers, that is earned from the insurance of property used in farming or fishing (including residences of farmers or fishers). Prescribed insurers are provided preferential access to this tax exemption, by not having to take into account the gross premium income of affiliated insurers when determining their eligibility for the tax exemption.
Budget 2017 proposes to eliminate the tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property.
This measure will apply to taxation years that begin after 2018.
Taxpayers are generally required to include the value of work in progress in computing their income for tax purposes. However, taxpayers in certain designated professions (i.e., accountants, dentists, lawyers, medical doctors, veterinarians and chiropractors) may elect to exclude the value of work in progress in computing their income. This election effectively allows income to be recognized when the work is billed (billed-basis accounting). Billed-basis accounting enables taxpayers to defer tax by permitting the costs associated with work in progress to be expensed without the matching inclusion of the associated revenues.
Budget 2017 proposes to eliminate the ability for designated professionals to elect to use billed-basis accounting.
This measure will apply to taxation years that begin on or after Budget Day.
To mitigate the effect on taxpayers, a transitional period will be provided to phase in the inclusion of work in progress into income. For the first taxation year that begins on or after Budget Day, 50 per cent of the lesser of the cost and the fair market value of work in progress will be taken into account for the purposes of determining the value of inventory held by the business under the Income Tax Act. For the second, and each successive, taxation year that begins on or after Budget Day, the full amount of the lesser of the cost and the fair market value of work in progress will be taken into account for the purposes of valuing inventory.
Consultation on Cash Purchase Tickets
When a farmer delivers a listed grain (i.e., wheat, oats, barley, rye, flaxseed, rapeseed or canola) to the operator of a licensed elevator, the operator may issue to the farmer a cash purchase ticket or other prescribed form of settlement. If the cash purchase ticket (or other prescribed form of settlement) in respect of a delivery of a listed grain is payable in the year following the year in which the grain is delivered (a “deferred cash purchase ticket”), the taxpayer includes the amount of the ticket in income in that following year. The treatment of deferred cash purchase tickets that are issued in respect of deliveries of listed grains is a departure from the general rule with respect to taxpayers (including other farmers) who are required to include the amount of a security or other evidence of indebtedness received as payment of a currently-payable debt in income in the year in which it is received.
The historical rationale for the tax deferral for cash purchase tickets in respect of listed grains relates to international grain shipment agreements and the Canadian Wheat Board’s former position as the sole purchaser of listed grain in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. With the deregulation of the grain marketing regime and commercialization of the Canadian Wheat Board, the delivery of the listed grains is now the responsibility of private business rather than the federal government. As a result, there is arguably no longer a clear policy rationale for maintaining the tax deferral accorded to deferred cash purchase tickets received as payment for listed grains.
Budget 2017 launches a consultation on the income tax deferral available in respect of deferred cash purchase tickets for deliveries of listed grains. Stakeholders are invited to provide comments on the ongoing utility, and potential elimination, of this tax deferral, including any appropriate transitional period or rules.
The Government invites interested parties to submit comments by May 24, 2017. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Tax Measures
Extending the Base Erosion Rules to Foreign Branches of Life Insurers
Corporations resident in Canada are generally taxable on their worldwide income. However, the Income Tax Act provides a special exemption for Canadian-resident life insurance companies. Specifically, the income tax rules include in the tax base income from a life insurer’s Canadian business, but not its income from carrying on business in a foreign jurisdiction (i.e., through a “foreign branch”). In this respect, foreign branches of Canadian life insurers are taxed similarly to foreign affiliates of Canadian-resident corporations, the foreign business income of which generally is not taxable in Canada and, in most cases, is exempt from Canadian tax on repatriation.
One important difference between the income tax regimes for life insurers and foreign affiliates concerns the treatment of income from the insurance of Canadian risks (e.g., risks in respect of persons resident in Canada). The foreign accrual property income (“FAPI”) rules include a specific anti-avoidance rule whereby income from the insurance of Canadian risks of a controlled foreign affiliate of a Canadian taxpayer is generally considered FAPI and is therefore taxable in the hands of the Canadian taxpayer on an accrual basis. This rule is intended to prevent Canadian taxpayers from avoiding Canadian income tax by shifting income from the insurance of Canadian risks into a controlled foreign affiliate resident in a low- or no-tax jurisdiction. Currently, there is no analogous rule to prevent income from the insurance of Canadian risks from being shifted to a foreign branch of a Canadian life insurer (although other anti-avoidance rules in the Income Tax Act may apply to such transactions).
Budget 2017 proposes to amend the Income Tax Act to ensure that Canadian life insurers are taxable in Canada with respect to their income from the insurance of Canadian risks. This rule will be modelled on the existing anti-avoidance rule in the FAPI regime. It will apply where 10 per cent or more of the gross premium income (net of reinsurance ceded) earned by a foreign branch of a Canadian life insurer is premium income in respect of Canadian risks. Where the proposed rule applies, it will deem the insurance of Canadian risks by a foreign branch of a Canadian life insurer to be part of a business carried on by the life insurer in Canada and the related insurance policies to be life insurance policies in Canada.
It is further proposed that complementary anti-avoidance rules be introduced to ensure the integrity of the proposed rule. First, anti-avoidance rules that were introduced to the FAPI regime in Budgets 2014 and 2015 will be extended to foreign branches of life insurers. These rules are intended to ensure that the proposed rule cannot be avoided through either the use of so-called “insurance swaps” or the ceding of Canadian risks.
Second, if a life insurer has insured foreign risks through its foreign branch and it can reasonably be concluded that the foreign risks were insured by the life insurer as part of a transaction or series of transactions one of the purposes of which was to avoid the proposed rule, then the life insurer will be treated as if it had insured Canadian risks. An analogous anti-avoidance rule will also be introduced to reinforce the existing anti-avoidance rules in the FAPI regime.
This measure will apply to taxation years of Canadian taxpayers that begin on or after Budget Day.
Sales and Excise Tax Measures
Opioid Overdose Treatment Drug – Naloxone
Prescription drugs and a list of non-prescription drugs that are used to treat life-threatening conditions are relieved from the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST).
Naloxone (including its salts, such as naloxone hydrochloride) is a drug used to treat opioid (e.g., fentanyl) overdose. When naloxone was available only by prescription, it qualified for GST/HST relief as a prescription drug. However, to facilitate access and avoid possible delays in the administration of the drug, on March 22, 2016, Health Canada removed the requirement for a prescription when naloxone is indicated for emergency use for opioid overdose outside hospital settings. As such, when supplied in this manner, naloxone no longer qualifies for GST/HST relief.
In order to restore the GST/HST-free treatment of naloxone, Budget 2017 proposes to add the drug (and its salts) to the list of GST/HST-free non-prescription drugs that are used to treat life-threatening conditions.
This measure generally comes into effect on March 22, 2016. However, this measure does not apply in respect of any supply, importation or bringing into a participating province of naloxone occurring on or before Budget Day for which GST/HST was charged, collected, remitted or paid.
Taxi and Ride-Sharing Services
Under the GST/HST, all taxi operators are required to register for the GST/HST and charge tax on their fares, regardless of the total amount of sales they make. These rules, which have been in place since the inception of the GST, ensure that all taxi operators are treated in the same way.
For GST/HST purposes, a taxi business is currently defined to mean a business carried on in Canada of transporting passengers by taxi for fares that are regulated under the laws of Canada or a province. Taxi fares may also be regulated by municipalities under authority delegated by a province.
Commercial ride-sharing services facilitated by web applications provide passenger transportation services that are similar to taxi services. However, such ride-sharing services may not be subject to the same GST/HST rules that apply to taxi services since they may not meet the GST/HST definition of a taxi business. For example, their fares may not be regulated by a province or municipality.
To ensure that the GST/HST applies consistently to taxi services and ride-sharing services, Budget 2017 proposes to amend the definition of a taxi business to require providers of ride-sharing services to register for the GST/HST and charge tax on their fares in the same manner as taxi operators. In this regard, it is proposed that the GST/HST definition of a taxi business be amended to include persons engaged in a business of transporting passengers for fares by motor vehicle within a municipality and its environs where the transportation is arranged for or coordinated through an electronic platform or system, such as a mobile application or website. These changes will only apply to transportation that is supplied in the course of a commercial activity. These changes will not apply to a school transportation service for elementary or secondary students or a sightseeing service.
The amendment will be effective as of July 1, 2017.
GST/HST Rebate to Non-Residents for Tour Package Accommodations
A rebate is currently available to non-resident individuals and non-resident tour operators for the GST/HST that is payable in respect of the Canadian accommodation portion of eligible tour packages.
Budget 2017 proposes to repeal the GST/HST rebate available to non-residents for the GST/HST that is payable in respect of the accommodation portion of eligible tour packages.
This repeal will generally apply in respect of supplies of tour packages or accommodations made after Budget Day. As a transitional measure, the rebate will continue to be available in respect of a supply of a tour package or accommodations made after Budget Day but before January 1, 2018 if all of the consideration for the supply is paid before January 1, 2018.
A surtax of 10.5 per cent applies on profits arising from the manufacture of tobacco or tobacco products (subject to certain exemptions) in Canada. In addition, a federal excise duty applies to all tobacco products sold in the Canadian market.
Budget 2017 proposes to eliminate the tobacco manufacturers’ surtax. In order to maintain the intended tax burden of the manufacturers’ surtax on tobacco products, Budget 2017 also proposes to adjust tobacco excise duty rates.
The excise duty rate on cigarettes will increase from $0.52575 to $0.53900 for each five cigarettes or fraction thereof (i.e., from $21.03 to $21.56 per 200 cigarettes). Budget 2017 also proposes that inventories of cigarettes held by manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers at the end of Budget Day be subject to a tax of $0.00265 per cigarette (subject to certain exemptions). Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers should refer to the cigarette inventory tax mechanism in the Excise Act, 2001 and Canada Revenue Agency publications for more information. Taxpayers will have until May 31, 2017 to file returns and pay the inventory tax.
The excise duty rates for other tobacco products will also be adjusted accordingly. Budget 2017 proposes a corresponding increase in the excise duty rate on tobacco sticks from $0.10515 to $0.10780 per stick (i.e., from $21.03 to $21.56 per 200 tobacco sticks), and on manufactured tobacco (e.g., chewing tobacco or fine-cut tobacco for use in roll-your-own cigarettes) from $6.57188 to $6.73750 per 50 grams or fraction thereof (i.e., from approximately $26.29 to $26.95 per 200 grams). The excise duty rate on cigars is proposed to increase from $22.88559 to $23.46235 per 1,000 cigars, and the additional duty on cigars from the greater of $0.08226 per cigar and 82 per cent of the sale price or duty-paid value to the greater of $0.08434 per cigar and 84 per cent of the sale price or duty-paid value.
These measures will be effective as of the day after Budget Day. A corporation with a taxation year that includes Budget Day and ends after Budget Day will be required to prorate the surtax on its Canadian tobacco manufacturing profits based on the number of days in the taxation year that are on or before Budget Day.
The Excise Act and the Excise Act, 2001 impose excise duties on alcohol products, namely beer, spirits and wine. The duties are generally imposed at the time of production or packaging on a fixed-amount-per-unit basis, and are generally payable by manufacturers or excise warehouse licensees when the products enter into the duty-paid market. In the case of imported alcohol products, the duties may be payable under the Customs Tariff at the time of importation by the importer. The alcohol excise duty rates were effectively last adjusted in the mid‑1980s.
Budget 2017 proposes that excise duty rates on alcohol products be increased by 2 per cent effective the day after Budget Day, in respect of duty that becomes payable after that date. No special inventory tax will apply to alcohol products on which duty has been paid. In order to maintain their effectiveness, it is also proposed that the rates be automatically adjusted by the Consumer Price Index on April 1 of every year, starting in 2018.
Table 3 provides further information on selected proposed alcohol excise duty rates.
|Products||Current Excise Duty Rates||Proposed Excise Duty Rates after Budget Day|
(in absolute ethyl alcohol (AEA) by volume)
|More than 7 per cent||$11.696 per litre of AEA||$11.930 per litre of AEA|
|Not more than 7 per cent||$0.295 per litre||$0.301 per litre|
(in AEA by volume)
|More than 7 per cent||$0.62 per litre||$0.63 per litre|
| More than 1.2 per cent but
not more than 7 per cent
|$0.295 per litre||$0.301 per litre|
|Not more than 1.2 per cent||$0.0205 per litre||$0.0209 per litre|
(in AEA by volume)
|More than 2.5 per cent||$31.22 per hectolitre2||$31.84 per hectolitre|
| More than 1.2 per cent but
not more than 2.5 per cent
|$15.61 per hectolitre||$15.92 per hectolitre|
|Not more than 1.2 per cent||$2.591 per hectolitre||$2.643 per hectolitre|
Aboriginal Tax Policy
In successive budgets since 1997, the Government of Canada has expressed its willingness to put into effect taxation arrangements with interested Aboriginal governments. To date, the Government of Canada has entered into more than 50 taxation arrangements in respect of sales tax and personal income tax with Aboriginal governments. The Government of Canada confirms its willingness to discuss and put into effect direct taxation arrangements with interested Aboriginal governments.
The Government of Canada also supports direct taxation arrangements between interested provinces or territories and Aboriginal governments and will continue to facilitate such arrangements.
Customs Tariff and Special Import Measures
Improving Market Access for the World’s Least Developed Countries
Budget 2017 proposes changes to the rules of origin under Canada’s tariff regime for least developed countries (LDCs) in order for more apparel products imported from the world’s poorest countries to qualify for duty-free treatment when imported into Canada.
Specifically, it is proposed that the General Preferential Tariff and Least Developed Country Tariff Rules of Origin Regulations be amended to allow LDCs to use manufacturing inputs sourced and processed in an expanded list of countries in the production of T-shirts and pants that qualify for duty-free importation into Canada.
These proposed changes will ensure that origin rules more accurately reflect the sourcing patterns and manufacturing capabilities of certain LDCs for these products. In particular, it is expected that the amendments will help support economic development, jobs and investment in Haiti, the only LDC in the Americas region.
The necessary regulatory amendments will be put forward for approval in the coming weeks.
Measures to Strengthen Canada’s Trade Remedy System
Further to public consultations undertaken in 2016, Budget 2017 proposes a number of amendments to the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) and related trade remedy regulations. These amendments will ensure that Canada’s trade remedy system is strengthened and keeps accounting for the views of all stakeholders, while remaining aligned with international trade rules.
The SIMAwill be amended to allow domestic producers to file a complaint regarding trade and business practices specifically intended to avoid trade remedy duties. With these amendments, duties may be extended to goods found to circumvent a trade remedy measure, following a formal investigation by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in which all interested parties will be able to participate.
The transparency of Canada’s trade remedy system will be enhanced by allowing interested parties to request that the CBSA conduct a formal review to determine whether a specific product falls within the scope of a trade remedy measure. In addition, amendments will be made to enhance the ability of interested parties to monitor and appeal ongoing enforcement decisions.
Recognizing that labour unions have an important perspective to bring to trade remedy investigations, and in line with the Government’s progressive approach to trade, regulatory amendments will be made to ensure that unions have the right to participate as interested parties in trade remedy proceedings.
Addressing Particular Market Situations
When determining whether dumping is occurring, it is important to ensure that a proper comparison can be made between prices of the goods in the exporting country and prices of the goods when exported to Canada. The SIMA will be amended to provide greater discretion to the CBSA when assessing the reliability of prices in the exporting country in anti-dumping investigations. Where CBSA investigators find that prices are distorted due to the presence of a “particular market situation”, it will now be possible to use alternative approaches to ensure a proper comparison.
Ensuring Canada’s Trade Remedy System is Consistent with International Obligations
In December 2016, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that aspects of Canadian trade remedy law were inconsistent with Canada’s obligations under the WTO rules. Canada takes its international trade obligations seriously. Accordingly, amendments will be made to SIMA in respect of exporters found to be dumping at de minimis levels, in order to ensure Canada brings itself into compliance.
Previously Announced Measures
Budget 2017 confirms the Government’s intention to proceed with the following previously announced tax and related measures, as modified to take into account consultations and deliberations since their release:
- Measures announced on October 3, 2016 to improve fairness in relation to the capital gains exemption on the sale of a principal residence;
- The measure announced in Budget 2016 on information-reporting requirements for certain dispositions of an interest in a life insurance policy;
- Legislative proposals released on September 16, 2016, relating to income tax technical amendments;
- Legislative and regulatory proposals released on July 22, 2016 relating to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax; and
- Measures confirmed in Budget 2016 relating to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax joint venture election.
Budget 2017 also reaffirms the Government’s commitment to move forward as required with technical amendments to improve the certainty of the tax system.
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