GST/HST Measures in March 22, 2016 Federal Budget

There are a few GST/HST measures in the Canadian Federal Budget tabled today.  The following is an excerpt from the 2016 Budget Describing the GST/HST Measures:

Medical and Assistive Devices

Medical and assistive devices that are specially designed to assist an individual in treating or coping with a chronic disease or illness or a physical disability are generally zero-rated under the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST). Zero-rating means that suppliers do not charge purchasers GST/HST on these medical devices and are entitled to claim input tax credits to recover the GST/HST paid on inputs in relation to these supplies. The medical devices eligible for zero-rating are listed in the GST/HST legislation.

Budget 2016 proposes to add insulin pens, insulin pen needles and intermittent urinary catheters to the list of zero-rated medical devices to reflect the evolving nature of the health care sector.

Insulin Pens and Insulin Pen Needles

Insulin infusion pumps and insulin syringes are currently included in the list of zero-rated medical devices. These devices are used to inject insulin for the treatment of diabetes. Insulin itself is currently zero-rated as a drug.

Insulin pens are also used to inject insulin for the treatment of diabetes, and are an alternative to infusion pumps or syringes. Budget 2016 proposes to add insulin pens and insulin pen needles to the list of zero-rated medical devices.

This measure will apply to supplies made after Budget Day and to supplies made on or before Budget Day unless the supplier charged, collected or remitted GST/HST in respect of the supply.

Intermittent Urinary Catheters

Urinary appliances that are designed to be worn by an individual are currently included in the list of zero-rated medical devices.  Intermittent urinary catheters are an alternative to catheters that are left in place.

Budget 2016 proposes to add intermittent urinary catheters, if supplied on the written order of a medical doctor, registered nurse, occupational therapist or physiotherapist for use by a consumer named in the order, to the list of GST/HST zero-rated medical and assistive devices.

This measure will apply to supplies made after Budget Day.

Purely Cosmetic Procedures

Supplies of purely cosmetic procedures are not considered to be supplies of basic health care and are intended to be subject to the GST/HST, regardless of the status of the supplier.

Budget 2016 proposes to clarify that the GST/HST generally applies to supplies of purely cosmetic procedures provided by all suppliers, including registered charities. Taxable procedures will generally include surgical and non-surgical procedures aimed at enhancing or altering an individual’s appearance, such as liposuction, hair replacement procedures, hair removal, botulinum toxin injections and teeth whitening.

A cosmetic procedure will continue to be exempt if it is required for medical or reconstructive purposes, such as surgery to ameliorate a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease. As well, cosmetic procedures paid for by a provincial health insurance plan will continue to be exempt.

This measure will apply to supplies made after Budget Day.

Exported Call Centre Services

Under the GST/HST rules, exported supplies are generally relieved (i.e., zero-rated) from the GST/HST. This means that suppliers do not charge purchasers GST/HST on these supplies and are entitled to claim input tax credits to recover the GST/HST paid on inputs used in relation to these supplies.

Budget 2016 proposes to modify the zero-rating rules for certain exported supplies of call centre services. Specifically, the supply of a service of rendering technical or customer support to individuals by means of telecommunications (e.g., by telephone, email or web chat) will generally be zero-rated for GST/HST purposes if:

  • the service is supplied to a non-resident person that is not registered for GST/HST purposes; and
  • it can reasonably be expected at the time the supply is made that the technical or customer support is to be rendered primarily to individuals who are outside Canada at the time the support is rendered to those individuals.

This measure will apply to supplies made after Budget Day. It will also apply to supplies made on or before Budget Day in cases where the supplier did not, on or before that day, charge, collect or remit an amount as or on account of tax under Part IX of the Excise Tax Act in respect of the supply.

Reporting of Grandparented Housing Sales

Under the transitional rules that applied when a province either joined the harmonized value-added tax system since 2010 or increased its HST rate, certain sales of newly constructed or substantially renovated homes were grandparented for HST purposes. This meant that the housing sale was not subject to the provincial component of the HST or the increased HST rate, as applicable. A housing sale was generally grandparented if the agreement of purchase and sale was entered into in writing on or before the announcement date of the transitional rules and ownership and possession of the housing was transferred on or after the date on which the HST, or the increased HST rate, came into effect.

Under the current rules, builders are subject to special reporting requirements, which involve reporting their grandparented housing sales where the purchaser was not entitled to a GST New Housing Rebate or a GST New Residential Rental Property Rebate. The rules also include penalties for misreporting (i.e., under-reporting, over-reporting or failing to report).

Budget 2016 proposes to simplify builder reporting by:

  • limiting the reporting requirement to those grandparented housing sales for which the consideration is equal to or greater than $450,000; and
  • providing builders with an opportunity to correct past misreporting and avoid potential penalties by allowing them to elect to report all past grandparented housing sales for which the consideration was equal to or greater than $450,000.

This measure will apply in respect of any reporting period of a person that ends after Budget Day. In addition, if the above election is made, the measure will also apply to any supply of grandparented housing in respect of which the federal component of the HST became payable on or after July 1, 2010. Builders will generally have between May 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016 to make the election.

GST/HST on Donations to Charities

The GST/HST does not apply to a donation if the donor does not receive anything in return. However, if the donor receives property or services in exchange for the donation, even if the value of the donation exceeds the value of the offered property or services, the GST/HST generally applies on the full value of the donation. (A number of exceptions to this treatment apply, including where the service or property offered by the charity relates to a special fundraising event, such as a gala dinner, annual cookie sale or charity auction, or where the charity provides the donor goods that were previously gifted to the charity. Such supplies are exempt from GST/HST. In addition, a charity that qualifies as a “small supplier” (e.g., makes under $50,000 of taxable sales annually) is not required to collect GST/HST.)

Special rules are provided under the Income Tax Act to deal with transactions where property or services are supplied in exchange for or in recognition of a donation to a charity. Under the Income Tax Act “split-receipting” rules, where a charity encourages or recognizes a donation by supplying property or services in exchange, the charity generally may issue a donation receipt for the amount paid by the donor less the value of any property or service that the donor receives. Consequently, such donations are treated less favourably under the GST/HST than under the Income Tax Act

To bring the GST/HST treatment of this type of exchange into line with the treatment under the Income Tax Act split-receipting rules, Budget 2016 proposes a relieving change to provide that when a charity supplies property or services in exchange for a donation and when an income tax receipt may be issued for a portion of the donation, only the value of the property or services supplied will be subject to GST/HST. The proposal will apply to supplies that are not already exempt from GST/HST. It will ensure that the portion of the donation that exceeds the value of the property or services supplied is not subject to the GST/HST.

This measure will apply to supplies made after Budget Day.

In addition, where a charity did not collect GST/HST on the full value of donations made in exchange for an inducement, for supplies made between December 21, 2002 (when the income tax split-receipting rules came into effect) and Budget Day, the following transitional relief will be provided:

  • If GST/HST was charged on only the value of the inducement, consistent with the income tax split-receipting rules, or if the value of the inducement was less than $500, the donors’ and charities’ GST/HST obligations will effectively be satisfied, resulting in no further GST/HST owing.
  • In other cases, the charity will be required to remit GST/HST on the value of the inducement only (i.e., the relieving split-receipting rules will apply).

De Minimis Financial Institutions

Under the GST/HST, special rules apply to financial institutions, particularly in determining their entitlement to input tax credits. For GST/HST purposes, financial institutions include persons whose main business is providing financial services such as banks, insurance companies, investment dealers and investment plans. The GST/HST legislation also includes rules to ensure that other persons that provide a significant amount of financial services, such that they may be in competition with traditional financial institutions, are also treated as financial institutions for GST/HST purposes. For example, a person will generally be treated as a financial institution throughout a taxation year if the person’s income for the preceding taxation year from interest, fees or other charges with respect to the making of an advance, the lending of money, the granting of credit, or credit card operations, exceeds $1 million.

Under this rule, a person that earns more than $1 million in interest income in respect of bank deposits in a taxation year will be considered to be a financial institution for GST/HST purposes for its following taxation year even though the earning of such interest would generally not, by itself, bring that person into competition with traditional financial institutions.

To allow a person to engage in basic deposit-making activity without that activity leading it to being treated as a financial institution for GST/HST purposes, Budget 2016 proposes that interest earned in respect of demand deposits, as well as term deposits and guaranteed investment certificates with an original date to maturity not exceeding 364 days, not be included in determining whether the person exceeds the $1 million threshold.

This measure will apply to taxation years of a person beginning on or after Budget Day and to the fiscal year of a person that begins before Budget Day and ends on or after that day for the purposes of determining if the person is required to file the Financial Institution GST/HST Annual Information Return.

Application of GST/HST to Cross-Border Reinsurance

The GST/HST applies to domestic purchases as well as to importations of property and services. GST/HST rules require certain recipients of imported taxable supplies of services and intangible personal property to pay tax on a self-assessment basis.  Additionally, special GST/HST imported supply rules for financial institutions require a financial institution, including an insurer, with a presence outside Canada (e.g., in the form of a branch or a subsidiary) to self-assess GST/HST on certain expenses incurred outside Canada that relate to its Canadian activities.

Budget 2016 proposes to clarify that two specific components of imported reinsurance services, ceding commissions and the margin for risk transfer, do not form part of the tax base that is subject to the self-assessment provisions contained in the GST/HST imported supply rules for financial institutions and to set out specific conditions under which the special rules for financial institutions do not impose GST/HST on reinsurance premiums charged by a reinsurer to a primary insurer.

This measure will apply as of the introduction of the special GST/HST imported supply rules for financial institutions (i.e., in respect of any specified year of a financial institution that ends after November 16, 2005). In addition, this measure will allow a financial institution to request a reassessment by the Minister of National Revenue of the amount of tax owing by the financial institution under the special GST/HST imported supply rules for a past specified year of the financial institution, as well as any related penalties or interest, but solely for the purpose of taking into account the effect of this measure. A financial institution will have until the day that is one year after the day that these amendments receive Royal Assent to request such a reassessment.

Closely Related Test

Under the GST/HST, special relieving rules allow the members of a group of closely related corporations or partnerships to neither charge nor collect GST/HST on certain intercompany supplies. To qualify for these relieving rules, each member of this group must, among other requirements, be considered to be closely related to each other member of the group, supporting the assumption that the members effectively operate as a single entity.

In the case of a subsidiary corporation owned by a parent corporation or partnership, the closely related concept is reflected in a test that requires the parent to have nearly complete ownership and voting control over the subsidiary corporation. The current test requires that the parent corporation or partnership own 90 per cent or more of the value and number of the shares of the subsidiary corporation that have full voting rights under all circumstances. However, due to the complexity of share capital structures, it has been suggested that a parent corporation or partnership could be considered to be closely related to a subsidiary corporation even if it lacks nearly complete voting control over the subsidiary corporation.

To ensure that the closely related test applies only in situations where nearly complete voting control exists, Budget 2016 proposes to require that, in addition to meeting the conditions of the current test, a corporation or partnership must also hold and control 90  per cent or more of the votes in respect of every corporate matter of the subsidiary corporation (with limited exceptions) in order to be considered closely related.

This measure will generally apply as of the day that is one year after Budget Day. The measure will apply as of the day after Budget Day for the purposes of determining whether the conditions of the closely related test are met in respect of elections under section 150 and section 156 of the Excise Tax Act that are filed after Budget Day and that are to be effective as of a day that is after Budget Day.

One Of The Common Objection Mistakes - Missing The Deadline

There have been many times that a potential client contacts me (or any tax lawyer) to discuss filing a notice of objection to challenge a notice of assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency ("CRA"). The potential client seems to have a good legal position.  Then, I ask for the notice of assessment date and --- yikes --- it is more than 3 months ago. 

The deadline to file a GST/HST notice of assessment is 90 days from the date on the notice of assessment.  Three months is a short amount of time that seems to tick by quickly.  Some of that time passes while the notice of assessment is in the mail.  Some of the time is spent looking for a tax lawyer.  Unfortunately, some of the time is spent avoiding the issue of a GST/HST assessment.

If a taxpayer misses the 90 day deadline, is there any chance to still file a notice of objection?  The answer is that it depends..  Section 303 of the Excise Tax Act gives taxpayers an opportunity to apply to the Minister for an extension of time to file a notice of objection within one year of the expiration of the 90 days deadline.  In the application for an extension of time, the taxpayer must:

1) demonstrate that within the 90 day deadline for the notice of objection the taxpayer was unable to act or give instructions to a representative to file a notice of objection OR the taxpayer had a bona fide intention to object; and

2) give good reasons why the Minister should grant the application for an extension of time.

It is not a sure thing that the Minister will grant an extension of time to file a notice of objection.  We have been successful in receiving an extension of time when a client did not receive the notice of assessment, where the client asked for information from the auditor and was waiting for the information, where the client continues to discuss the audit file with the auditor or a supervisor after the date of the notice of assessment (and the T2020 report has recorded this contact), and when the client has communicated with the CRA about a desire to object.

It is important to note that while a telephone call does not constitute a notice of objection, telephone calls can evidence a desire to object.  That being said, if the notice of assessment was issued in 2013 and you contact a lawyer in 2016, the 90 days plus 1 year period for seeking an extension of time will have expired. In this scenario, there is no opportunity to file a notice of objection late.

If the Minister rejects an extension of time request, the taxpayer may appeal to the Tax Court of Canada to have the extension of time reconsidered (see section 304 of the Excise Tax Act). The Tax Court of Canada may dismiss the request or grant the request. The taxpayer must be able to present the Tax Cort of Canada with evidence that they intended to object to the assessment and that it would be just and equitable to grant the extension of time to file the notice of objection.  The Tax Court will not be moved by arguments that the taxpayer forgot about the deadline.

Audit Tip: Make A List Of All Documents Provided To The Auditor

When we work with clients who are undergoing a GST/HST audit, we recommend that the client document each and every request of the auditor and what is provided.  This is done is two ways:

1) The taxpayer should keep a written master list of all documents (including (a) the request of the auditor, (b) the date of the request, (c) the documents provided to the auditor, (d) the date the documents were provided to the auditor, (e) notes about information provided along with the document, and (f) the location in the binder of hard copies or the name of the electronic document; and

2) A binder with hard copies copies of all the documents provided to the auditor and a USB key with any electronic documents provided to the auditor.

The master list and the copies are helpful if there is a disagreement over what was provided (e.g., the auditor claims certain documents were never provided) or if there is a disagreement about and assessment.  If the dispute is ultimately appealed to the Tax Court of Canada under the General Procedure, a partial list of documents (and potentially the documents) would be discoverable.  It takes much less time to photocopy an binder than to recreate document production at a later point in time.

Recently we were hired to file an appeal in a Tax Court proceeding and the bookkeeper no longer worked for the company.  The new bookkeeper was not familiar with the documents and spend many hours trying to re-create the document trail.  If the original bookkeeper had kept a list of documents and a binder, the client could have saved a lot of time and money.

We also recently worked with an existing client after an audit and they have followed our advice. They sent u the list of documents provided to the auditor and we could quickly determine that the auditor had not put many of the key documents in the audit file.  We had filed an ATIP request and received a very small file.

How To Find Out What Is In The Canada Revenue Agency's Files About Your Audit

Wouldn't you like to know what is in the Canada Revenue Agency's ("CRA") files concerning your GST/HST audit? This information is very valuable in finding out where the CRA made a mistake or what is the basis for the misunderstanding about your taxes.  We recommend obtaining this information as soon as possible after an assessment is issued AND after an appeals officer makes a decision to confirm an assessment.  The information in your audit file may help you prepare a notice of objection or notice of appeal.  The information in your CRA files may also be very useful during an examination for discovery. During the examination for discovery, your lawyer may use the information to catch the auditor or appeals officer (the usual deponents for the CRA) in a misstatement.  The examination for discovery process sometimes leads to settlements. Most importantly, the information in the auditors own files may be used to contradict assumptions made in making the assessment.

You may obtain information in your CRA files by filing an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request.  The ATIP requester must complete a Form RC378.  Where you may need the assistance of a tax lawyer is to ensure you are asking for the correct information.  If you have no idea for what to ask (e.g., the T2020 form completed by the CRA officer each time she/he spoke to you or a representative or someone in the CRA), you may miss requesting useful information.  This is the most common problem is not knowing what would be in the CRA's audit file.

The filing fee is only $CDN 5.00.

The CRA posts limited information on the Canada Revenue Agency web-site about making an ATIP request - see How to access information at the CRA.

The next problem that arises is that the CRA may withhold information.  There is the right of appeal should the CRA withhold certain information. This will be the subject of a subsequent blog post.

Based on our experience, the ATIP process often results in information being provided that an auditor will not often send to the taxpayer.  For example, if the auditor obtained an appraisal from the CRA, Real Property Appraisal Division, the auditor is often told not to give that document to the taxpayer.  The ATIP process usually results in the release of the appraisal.  Similar,y the auditor often will not share internal emails.  The ATIP process usually results in the release of the internal emails.  At the end of an audit, the auditor prepares a memo for the team leader/supervisor.  The ATIP process usually results in the release of the Auditor's file memo(s).

Based on our experience, it is important to file an ATIP request.  It is a small price to pay to possibly win the tax argument.  It is a small price to pay to potentially save the expense of a hearing at the Tax Court of Canada and years of fighting the tax dispute.  Finally, wouldn't you like to know what the auditor wrote in your file?

If you require assistance, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or cyndee@lexsage.com.  We offer flat rates to file ATIP requests.

Canadian Sales Tax Rates (as at January 1, 2016)

Canadian Sales Tax Rates Chart
As at January 1, 2016

 

Province/Territory

Provincial Sales Tax

GST/HST Rate

GST Included in PST Tax Base

Combined Rate

British Columbia

7%
 

5%
 

N/A

12%

Alberta

Nil

5%

N/A

5%

Saskatchewan

5%

5%

No

10%

Manitoba

8%

5%

No

13%

Ontario

N/A

13%

N/A

13%

Quebec

9.975%

5%

N/A

14.975%

New Brunswick

N/A

13%

N/A

13%

Nova Scotia

N/A

15%

N/A

15%

Newfoundland/Labrador

N/A

13%

N/A

13%

Prince Edward Island

9%

5%

Yes

14%

Northwest Territories

Nil

5%

N/A

5%

Yukon

Nil

5%

N/A

5%

Nunavut

Nil

5%

N/A

5%



 

Newfoundland/Labrador Has Cancelled HST Rate Increase

On December 14, 2015, the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador officially cancelled the proposed HST rate increase - the Department of Finance has issued a press release.  The 8% PVAT portion was scheduled to increase to 10% (based on an April 2015 announcement by the previous government). The combined rate will stay at 13% (rather than going up to 15%)  That is not going to happen now - because the new provincial government has decided to cancel the increase after the November 30th election.

The Government of Newfoundland/Labrador has asked the Government of Canada to accommodate the cancellation. On December 15, 2015, the Canada Revenue Agency issued a Fact Sheet cancelling the HST rate increase.

It is very important for businesses to know that the HST rate increase has been cancelled. There was uncertainty.  Businesses have been busy getting their systems ready to collect the higher rate of HST.  In light of the cancellation of the HST rate increase, the transition rules designed to determine which tax rate to charge/pay are no longer applicable.

HOWEVER, a few tax changes will still take place on January 1, 2016.  For example, the proposed new municipal rebate (25% stating January 1, 2016, 57.14% starting January 1, 2017) will not be impacted by the cancellation of the HST rate increase and the transitional rules for the municipal rebate rate increase will continue to apply. In addition, new remittance rates for the streamlined accounting methods affecting eligible public service bodies (i.e., municipalities) begin after December 31, 2015.

For more information ,please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at cyndee@lexsage.com.

Can I Get GST/HST Back on Goods I Bought in Canada and Exported?

This is a question we get asked regularly.  It is not always an easy question to answer. 

Subsection 252 (1) of the Excise Tax Act (the "GST/HST Legislation") provides that if a non-resident is the recipient of a supply of tangible personal property (i.e., goods) acquired by the person for use primarily outside Canada, the person may receive a rebate of the GST/HST if the person exports the goods within 60 days.  There are a number of caveats to this general rule:

1) the non-resident person must have evidence that they exported the good within 60 days of acquiring the good;

2) the non-resident person must have evidence that they were the recipient of the good (e.g., someone else did not buy it);

3) the non-resident person must have evidence of the amount of GST/HST paid;

4) the consideration payable for the supplies exceeds $50;

5) the non-resident person must file the correct refund application within 1 year of exporting the good;

6) the person claiming the rebate is a non-resident at the time the rebate is claimed;

6) the good must not have been consumed is Canada (e.g., rebates are not available for food, drinks, concert tickets, etc.); and

7) the good is not an excisable goods, gasoline, diesel fuel or other motive fuel (other than certain exceptions).

There are special rules that allow for the assignment of a rebate to the supplier of the goods.  We won't confuse things by getting into this scenario.

 

HST Rate in Newfoundland/Labrador Is Increasing to 15% on Janaury 1, 2016

Effective January 1, 2016, the GST/HST rate for supplies made in Newfoundland/Labrador will increase to 15% (the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has increased the HST component to 10%).  It is time for businesses to prepare their systems for the increase so that the correct amount of HST is charged, collected & remitted (suppliers) and paid (recipients).

The Department of Finance for Newfoundland/Labrador has posted information about the transitional rules on its web-site.

One recommendation is for businesses to invoice customers in 2015 (before the end of the year) for goods and services delivered prior to January 1, 2016.  Historically, there have been problems when tax rate changed as auditors tend to gravitate towards the higher tax rate.

How to Appeal a GST/HST Assessment Correctly

If you are in the unfortunate position of having received a Notice of Confirmation of a Reassessment of GST/HST pursuant to the Excise Tax Act (Canada) and would like to continue to fight the reassessment, you MUST file an appeal within the 90 days statutory deadline (See Section 306 of the ETA).  While there is a possibility of obtaining an extension of time from the Tax Court of Canada for filing a Notice of Appeal, it is not a guaranteed right. As a result, when you obtain the Notice of Confirmation, GET OUT YOUR CALENDAR.  Mark on your calendar what date is 90 days from the date on the Notice of Confirmation.  Then, mark on your calendar one month before that date.  Then, mark on your calendar one month before that date.  You should have three dates marked on your calendar.  Use a date calculator because some months have 31 days.

Let's say your Notice of Confirmation is dated July 1, 2015.  This means that your deadline for filing the Notice of Appeal with the Tax Court of Canada is September 29, 2015.  You would mark on your calendar August 29, 2015 and July 29, 2015. I like to file the Notice of Appeal a few days early in case anything goes wrong (So, set a deadline of September 25, 2015 for filing the Notice of Appeal).

What are the other dates for? The first date (July 29 in the example) is the deadline for deciding whether you want a lawyer to assist you with your Notice of Appeal.  It is also the date for gathering documents - you must start by this date.

The second date (August 29 in the example) is the date for having all your documents organized and the outline of the position you would like to take in your appeal.  You must start drafting your reasons for the appeal at this time.

The reasons for the appeal are important.  You must provide the reasons for the appeal in the Notice of Appeal. A Notice of Appeal must set out:

1) Statement of relevant facts in support of the appeal;

2) The issues to be decided by the Tax Court of Canada;

3) the relevant provisions of the Excise Tax Act;

4) Submissions (reasons) in support of the appeal; and

5) Statement of the relief sought from the Tax Court of Canada.

You should also determine if you would like the case to proceed under the informal procedure rules or the general procedure rules.  If the amount at issue is over $50,000 or you wish to claim more than $50,000, the general procedure rules would apply in a GST/HST case.

When you file the Notice of Appeal with the Tax Court of Canada, remember to call ahead to the Tax Court of Canada Registry office to find out the filing fee and the number of copies required.  Bring one extra copy so that you can have the Registrar stamp a copy for your records as having been received on time.  The Tax Court of Canada serves the Crown.

If you ave any questions, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168.

 

Am I An Independent Contractor or An Employee?

Whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee for GST/HST purposes is an important question. If an individual is an employee, then the employer does not have to pay GST/HST in respect of the individual's salary and the individual does not have to charge, collect and remit GST/HST on the amount paid as salary. However, if the individual is in independent contractor and earns more than $30,000 per year, the person is required to register for GST/HST purposes and charge, collect and remit GST/HST.  Often, the individual gets paid a tax included amount and, therefore, pays the GST/HST from the amount received.

The issue arises more and more often.  There are few GST/HST decisions on the issue on employee vs independent contractor.  We often look at CPP and EI cases for the views of the Tax Court of Canada.

In a recent decision on October 21, 2015, in Quinte Children's Homes Inc. v. The Minister of National Revenue,Justice Graham issued a decision that clearly sets out the test used to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee:

1. The first issue is whether the intention stated in the contract was that of an independent contractor or an employee?

2. The second issue is whether, when examine through the prism of that shared intention, their objective relationship was that of an employee/employer or independent contractor?

3. In examining the relationship prism, whether the Wiebe Door factors apply?

  • Whether the "employer" exercised control over the "employee"?
  • Whether the "employer" provided the tools necessary for the "employee" to perform work?
  • Whether the "independent contractor" had an opportunity for profit - or could negotiate the amount of consideration paid for services performed?
  • Whether the "independent contractor" had a risk of loss?

In the end, Justice Graham found that Ms. Fobear (who was an intervenor in the case) was an independent contractor.  In the analysis, Justice Graham answered some questions finding Ms. Fobear was an employee and other questions finding Ms. Fobear was an independent contractor.  These cases are rarely simple.  What tipped the scales in this case was a lack of control exercised by Quinte Children's Homes Inc. over the day-to-day activities of Ms. Fobear.

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