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Government of Alberta announces a newsworthy budget for 2015

Budget announcements from the Government of Alberta for the last number of years have generally been humdrum events. Unfortunately, with declining oil prices and market uncertainty, the Government of Alberta is now in a position where it can no longer rely on resource royalties to smooth out its revenue stream. Through Budget 2015, the Government of Alberta is proposing changes that will impact many Albertans in a significant way.

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The loss restriction event rules for trusts are broader than you think

Loss carryforwards and other tax attributes are valuable assets because they can shelter taxes. As such, loss utilization has always been a staple of good tax planning. The Income Tax Act and the CRA’s administrative policies have generally accepted loss utilization planning within affiliated and related parties. On the other hand, the Act has always had provisions against arm’s length loss trading transactions whereby one taxpayer in effect makes use of another’s unused tax attributes. Prior to March 21, 2013, these rules were referred to as the “acquisition of control” rules and they applied only to corporations. However, in recent years, there are a proliferation of non-corporate vehicles that carry on substantial activities traditionally undertaken only by corporations. In response, the Department of Finance introduced a new “loss restriction event” concept in new section 251.2, effective March 21, 2013, that essentially expands the old acquisition of control regime to partnerships and trusts. At first glance, the rules in section 251.2 appears to be of limited relevance to ordinary trust and estate planning due to the affiliated person exceptions provided. However, there are traps for the unwary contained in these rules.

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Another turn at Cheek: Willfulness and non-US residents

Since 2012, US citizens living in Canada (and elsewhere outside the US) have had two options to address income tax non-compliance issues: the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”) and the Streamlined filing procedure (“Streamlined”). The more comprehensive OVDP program offers criminal amnesty after pre-clearance, extensive disclosures, and a mandatory penalty payment. Streamlined presents a less onerous path of fewer filings and reduced (or eliminated) penalty. Originally, Streamlined was available only to nonresident taxpayers as defined by the terms of the program. On June 18, 2014, the IRS announced modifications to the streamlined filing procedure. One modification was the establishment of the “Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures.” This program opens the Streamlined filing procedures to US resident taxpayers, and was intended for US resident taxpayers who had failed to disclose offshore assets, but whose failure to disclose had been “non-willful.”

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Toronto seminar | Considering renouncing your US citizenship?

Complimentary seminar presented by: Moodys Gartner Tax Law and Cumming & Partners Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015 Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM Location: Fairmont Royal York (100 Front Street W) Registration:rsvp@moodysgartner.com or 1.403.693.5100 On July 1, 2014, the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) went into effect, and as a result it will become increasingly difficult to renounce your […]

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Vancouver seminar | 2015 tax update for professionals

Speakers: Tim Clarke MA (ECON), LLB | Josh Schmidt LLB | Drew Gilmour JD | Derek Dalsin CPA-CA, TEP, CLU | Roy A Berg JD, LLM (US TAX) | Kim G C Moody FCA, TEP Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2015 Time: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Location: Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place) RSVP: rsvp@moodysgartner.com or 778.945.3445 ext. 100 by Friday, […]

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Edmonton seminar | Considering renouncing your US citizenship?

Complimentary seminar presented by: Roy A Berg JD, LLM (US TAX) and Alexander Marino JD, LLM (US TAX) Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015 Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM Location: Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton (10235 – 101 Street) Registration: rsvp@moodysgartner.com or 780.784.2500 ext. 100 On July 1, 2014, the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) went into effect, and as a result it will […]

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Supreme Court of Canada rules that FINTRAC requirements do not apply to law firms: Solicitor-client privilege remains strong in Canada

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (“FINTRAC”) is a government agency tasked with facilitating the detection, prevention, and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. FINTRAC operates under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, S.C. 2000, c. 17 (the “Act”) and collects information on financial transactions relying upon certain provisions of the Act.

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Can Canadian taxpayers defer a gain on a disposition of property by reinvesting the sale proceeds like US taxpayers can?

The recent case of Livingston v The Queen from the Tax Court of Canada has once again thrust the replacement property rules in section 44 of the Income Tax Act (the “Act”) in the spotlight. Since numerous commentators have already discussed the case and debated whether the Tax Court was correct in its narrow interpretation of the legislation, we will take another approach and use this as an opportunity to highlight a common misconception about the Canadian replacement property rules that we frequently encounter in our practice.

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The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) Project

For tax geeks like me, the OECD’s BEPS project has been fascinating to watch and participate in the debate. On February 12, 2015, I attended 2015 BEPS Symposium – A Canadian Perspective, jointly presented by the Canadian Tax Foundation and International Fiscal Association Canada. The session was very interesting, exceptionally well presented, and a reminder that it is a great time to be a tax advisor despite (or because of) the crush of new developments.

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US proposes relief for some who renounce US citizenship: Is FATCA a motivating factor?

On February 2, 2015 the Obama Administration acknowledged the plight of certain US citizens residing abroad and proposed limited relief. In the “General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2016 Revenue Proposals”1, known as the “Green Book,” the Administration proposed a change to US law (the “Proposal”) that would allow certain dual citizens to renounce their US citizenship without the fear of delinquent tax filings, penalties, the US exit tax, and the other consequences to being a covered expatriate. The details of the Proposal, and the chances of being given the effect of law, while interesting, are less so than the Administration’s motive for advancing it. Politicians don’t get re-elected by winnowing away their constituency base or enacting legislation that has the effect of raising tax (even in small measures). Normal people, even politicians, behave rationally so there must be a reason for the Proposal. Could the Proposal play a small part in a more subtle strategy that might involve foreign opposition to FATCA and IGA-partner domestic legislation?

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Vancouver seminar: Considering renouncing your US citizenship? – February 26, 2015

Complimentary seminars presented by: Roy A Berg JD, LLM (US TAX) and Alexander Marino JD, LLM (US TAX) Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015 Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM Location: Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC) Registration: rsvp@moodysgartner.com or 778.945.3445 ext. 100 On July 1, 2014, the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) went into effect, and as a result it […]

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Calgary seminar: Considering renouncing your US citizenship? – February 25, 2015

Complimentary seminars presented by: Roy A Berg JD, LLM (US TAX) and Alexander Marino JD, LLM (US TAX) Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM Location: Rotary House, Stampede Park (1701 Big Four Trail SE, Calgary, AB) Registration: rsvp@moodysgartner.com or 403.693.5100 On July 1, 2014, the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) went into effect, and as […]

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