This Tax Bulletin was initially published on December 22nd, 2017, on Fasken.com, under the title “Introduction of Exemptions From the Payment of Transfer Duties on the Transfer of an Immovable Involving a Partnership“.
On December 20, 2017, the Minister of Finance published an Information Bulletin (2017-14, dated December 20, 2017) indicating that amendments would be made to the Act respecting duties on transfers of immovables (the “Act”) to provide an exemption from duties (“Duties”) for transfers involving partnerships made after December 20th, 2017.
Duties are imposed on the transfers of immovables in Québec, unless an exemption applies.
The Act provides exemptions from the payment of Duties in certain cases, such as, for example, where the transfer of an immovable involves a transferor or a transferee that is a legal person.
However, currently no exemption from the payment of Duties applies if a transfer is made to or from a partnership.
Québec has decided to provide an exemption from the payment of Duties on the transfer of an immovable involving a partnership, in circumstances similar to those for legal persons (i.e. for transfers between closely related legal persons).
The proposed amendment will provide for an exemption from the payment of Duties on the transfer of an immovable involving a partnership, where the percentage of a partner, that is the transferor or the transferee of the transfer, of the income or losses of the partnership is at least 90%. This, presumably, includes transfers by or to corporations and partnerships.
Continue over to Fasken.com for the full article.
What is the “automatic exchange of financial information”
In order to increase tax transparency across the globe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adopted the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) on July 15, 2014. The CRS initiative calls on each participating jurisdiction to obtain information from financial institutions within their country and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. The objective is to increase tax compliance by providing key information to the participating jurisdictions allowing them to identify whether their citizens accurately report their foreign assets and income. However, since the CRS is not constraining, 90 jurisdictions have also signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on automatic exchange of financial account information. The MCAA provides a mechanism to facilitate the exchange of information in accordance with the CRS. Such information to be disclosed includes the following :
- The name, address, taxpayer identification number, date and place of birth of each account holder;
- The account number;
- The name and identifying number of the financial institution;
- The account balance or value (including, in the case of a cash value insurance contract or annuity contract, the cash value or surrender value) as of the end of the relevant calendar year or the closure of the account;
- The total gross amount of interest, dividends and other income generated with respect to the assets held in the account.
Qu’est-ce que « l’échange automatique de renseignements financiers »?
Afin d’accroître la transparence fiscale à travers le monde, l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) a adopté la norme commune de déclaration (NCD) le 15 juillet 2014. L’initiative de la NCD invite les juridictions participantes à obtenir des renseignements auprès des institutions financières de leur pays et à les échanger automatiquement avec d’autres juridictions sur une base annuelle. L’objectif est d’accroître l’observation des règles fiscales en fournissant des renseignements importants aux juridictions participantes afin de leur permettre de déterminer si leurs citoyens déclarent correctement leurs actifs et leurs revenus étrangers.
Cependant, puisque la NCD n’est pas contraignante, 90 juridictions ont également signé l’Accord Multilatéral entre Autorités Compétentes (AMAC) sur l’échange automatique de renseignements financiers. L’AMAC fournit un mécanisme pour faciliter l’échange de renseignements conformément à la NCD. Les renseignements à divulguer comprennent ce qui suit :
- Le nom, l’adresse, le numéro d’identification du contribuable et la date et le lieu de naissance de chaque titulaire du compte;
- Le numéro de compte;
- Le nom et le numéro d’identification de l’institution financière;
- Le solde ou la valeur du compte (y compris, dans le cas d’un contrat d’assurance comportant une valeur de rachat ou d’un contrat de rente, la valeur de rachat) à la fin de l’année civile concernée ou à la fermeture du compte;
- Le montant total des intérêts, des dividendes et des autres revenus générés relativement aux actifs détenus dans le compte.
The Canada Revenue Agency’s (the ‘’CRA’’) voluntary disclosures program allows taxpayers who meet certain conditions to correct inaccurate or incomplete information previously submitted to the CRA, or to disclose information not previously reported on their tax form. Under the current voluntary disclosures program, those who make a valid disclosure will be responsible for paying the taxes and reduced interest owing as a result of their disclosure, the whole without penalties or fear of prosecution. However, access to the voluntary disclosures program will be limited in the near future and radical changes will be introduced.
Access to the voluntary disclosures program limited for some and radical changes for others
However, on May 29, 2017, the CRA announced by the way of its Report on Progress that a revised voluntary disclosures program policy would be introduced shortly. The changes sought will tighten the access to the voluntary disclosures program and the relief provided. This announce by the CRA is made after the recommendation from the Standing Committee on Finance to conduct a review of the voluntary disclosures program as part of the strategy to combat offshore tax evasion and aggressive tax planning.
In completing its review of the program, CRA sought input from the Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee (the ‘’OCAC’’). In December 2016, the OCAC released the ‘’Report on the Voluntary Disclosures Program’’ which sets out different recommendations to ‘’improve’’ the program. The main contemplated alterations are to, in certain circumstances :
- increase the period for which full interest must be paid;
- reduce penalties relief in certain circumstances so that the taxpayers pay more than they would pay if they had been fully compliant; and
- even deny relief from civil penalties.
Such circumstances could include, for example :
- Situations where large dollar amounts of tax were avoided;
- Active efforts to avoid detection and the use of complex offshore structures;
- Multiple years of non-compliance;
- Disclosures motivated by CRA statements regarding its intended focus of compliance, by broad-based tax compliance programs or by the reception of leaked confidential information by the CRA such as the Panama Papers data leak; and
- Other circumstances in which the CRA considers that the high degree of the taxpayer’s culpability contributed to the failure to comply.
Less certain and more expensive results
If implemented by the CRA, the recommendations of the OCAC would significantly change the current voluntary disclosures program and the result of a disclosure would be more discretionary and expensive. Therefore, taxpayers entertaining the possibility of making a voluntary disclosure may want to act soon as the CRA intends to tighten the criteria for acceptance into the voluntary disclosures program and to be less generous in its application.
For more information about filing a voluntary disclosure download “The Voluntary Disclosures Programs in Canada (And in Québec)“.
Duties on Transfers of Immovables in Québec: Implementation of Previously Announced Amendments
On November 16, 2016, the Minister, Carlos J. Leitão, tabled Bill 112 giving effect to several fiscal measures announced in the Budget Speech delivered on March 17, 2016.
Among the measures set out in Bill 112 are the modifications announced to the Act respecting duties on transfers of immovables (CQLR c. D-15.1) (the “Act”). Bill 112 must still go before a parliamentary commission before its adoption.
The measures announced in the Budget Speech revolve around the following three main changes:
- Imposing mutation duties at the time of the transfer of an immovable, as opposed to the time of its registration in the land register – thereby imposing off-title transfers of an immovable;
- Amending the conditions of certain exemptions from payment of mutation duties, in particular in respect of transfers between closely-related parties, and introducing a requirement that the exemption conditions underlying the exemption be maintained for a period of 24 months following an exempt transfer;
- Introducing new conditions applicable to exemptions, specifically in respect of transfers between former de facto (common-law) spouses and transfers in favour of an international governmental organization that has entered into an agreement with the Government with respect to its establishment in Québec.
It is worthwhile noting that the measures will only apply to transfers of immovables occurring after March 17, 2016.
Bill 112, entitled An Act to give effect mainly to fiscal measures announced in the Budget Speech delivered on 17 March 2016, details the means by which these amendments will be implemented. One should note that Bill 112 will only come into force on the date of its passage by the National Assembly and its assent thereto by the Lieutenant-Governor.