In March of 2018, the province of Quebec introduced a proposal to vastly expand the requirements for non–residents of Quebec to collect and remit the Quebec Sales Tax (“QST”) on sales of services and intangible property. Although no draft legislation has yet been released, these proposals would require both Canadian and non–Canadian suppliers of intangible property or services, whether delivered through a digital platform or not, to register as a collector of the Quebec Sales Tax, and to collect, report and remit such tax on all such sales to unregistered Quebec residents.
These proposals follow the OECD recommendations designed to address the tax challenges associated with the digital economy globally, and appear to be directed primarily at B2C transactions, such that only non–residents of Quebec that make sales to unregistered Quebec resident consumers will be subjected to these new rules. Further, Quebec has indicated that there will be a $30,000 threshold (calculated on a rolling basis over the previous 12–month period), below which registration will not be required.
Although there are many layers of complexity that will need to be dealt with as the legislation is drafted, Quebec has already made it clear that the tax collected under this new system, as well as those collecting such tax, will not be treated the same as the traditional amounts of QST or the traditional QST collectors. For example, collectors under this new regime will not be entitled to recover any of their own QST costs by way of input tax refund.
Further, it appears that Quebec will also require certain digital intermediaries (e.g. a third party that provides the digital platform to enable supplies of intangibles) to register and collect the QST on such taxable supplies. This imposition of a compliance burden on such third party intermediaries, appears similar to similar compliance burdens placed on intermediaries in other value added tax jurisdictions (e.g. in Brazil, credit card companies are obligated to collect, report and remit certain sales taxes on payments made by resident Brazilians to non–resident suppliers of intangibles and services). Although we note that the Quebec proposals appear to exempt payment processors from such compliance obligations, we questions whether Quebec (and possibly Canada) will continue to move in this direction in order to more fully tax the digital economy.
As can be imagined, there will be many difficulties faced by Quebec in the implementation of this new form of QST, not the least will be ensuring compliance by non–residents. Although it is likely that Quebec will effectively be able to force compliance by Canadian suppliers that do not otherwise carry on business in Quebec, there will likely be significant challenges in enforcing such registration requirements of non–Canadian suppliers. Similarly, there will likely be significant challenges faced by such non–resident suppliers in determining whether they are making sales to consumers that are actually subject to this tax.
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)“.