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Can Tax Authorities Demand Access to Audit Workpapers? Canadian Experience Follows U.S. Rule

Can Tax Authorities Demand Access to Audit Workpapers? Canadian Experience Follows U.S. Rule

Recent victories in litigation have allowed the Canada Revenue Agency to review tax accrual workpapers of Canadian corporations, provided the request for access is not a “fishing expedition” attempting to find issues.In the U.S., the I.R.S. has enjoyed that power for many years. Sunita Doobay of Blaney McMurtry L.L.P., Toronto, examines the scope and limitations of the Canadian decisions. Stanley C. Ruchelman reviews case law in the U.S., the role of FIN 48, and the purpose behind Schedule UTP (reporting uncertain tax positions), which surprisingly is designed to limit examinations of tax accrual workpapers.

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Alta Energy Affirms Treaty Benefits: A Canadian Case Study for Applying the M.L.I.

Alta Energy Affirms Treaty Benefits: A Canadian Case Study for Applying the M.L.I.

As part of its attack on B.E.P.S., the O.E.C.D. published its Multilateral Instrument, a device that revised more than 1,200 income tax treaties. One of the provisions of the M.L.I. targets treaty shopping by the adoption of, among other things, a principal purpose test ("P.P.T."). In simple terms, the P.P.T. disallows a treaty benefit when a principal purpose of a transaction is to obtain that benefit. Transactions in accordance with the object and purpose of the provisions of a treaty are not affected by the P.P.T. Many North American tax advisers know that the P.P.T. is based on a provision of Canadian law known as the General Anti-Avoidance Rule or G.A.A.R. A recent decision of the Tax Court of Canada addresses the application of G.A.A.R. to a cross-border tax plan set up by a U.S. financial institution designed specifically to obtain enhanced Canadian tax benefits by rechanneling a U.S. investment in Canada into a U.S. investment into Luxembourg that was then invested into Canada. The Canada Revenue Agency ("C.R.A.") attacked the Luxembourg company's entitlement to treaty benefits relying heavily on G.A.A.R. Kristy J. Balkwill and Benjamin Mann of Miller Thomson L.L.P., Toronto, explain the decision and its potential impact on the P.P.T. The case has been appealed by C.R.A.

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Insights Vol. 4 No. 1: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, we look briefly at several timely issues, including (i) the termination of foreign acceptance agent agreements used to confirm copies of passports outside the U.S. when a non-U.S. individual obtains an I.T.I.N., (ii) a court order in Canada upholding a demand for disclosure of client names and documentation relating to participation in a discredited tax shelter, (iii) E.U. steps that identify potentially blacklisted low-tax or no-tax countries, and (iv) worsening relations between the U.S. and the E.U. stemming from widening differences in tax policies.

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A Year of Guest Features

A Year of Guest Features

This month, we reminisce on the best of 2016, with articles contributed by guest authors from around the world.

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Contract Manufacturing in a US-Controlled Group

First published by the Canadian Tax Foundation in (2016) 24:7 Canadian Tax Highlights.

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