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Tax facts

Editorial Obiter

Tax issues aren’t always front and centre when it comes to media coverage.

That being said, and, as many sage tax lawyers know, these issues can permeate the lives of everyday Canadians and impact each person in very definitive ways. This week, a set of features in Law Times looks at tax issues, with a variety of findings. One highlights tax changes that have occurred south of the border, which  could impact American subsidiaries operating here.

This could hurt Canadian competitiveness, which is especially problematic at a time when Canada is teetering on the edge of the potential end of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Another piece looks at who might become the Supreme Court of Canada’s next leading voice on tax-related rulings, an area that some lawyers feel is often (sadly) overlooked.

In 2017, lawyers across the country had strong feedback to the federal government’s proposed changes to private incorporation tax rules. Some even threatened to revoke their Canadian Bar Association membership in protest. While the federal government has now backtracked considerably on these proposals, Law Times reports that lawyers still see considerable issues with the revised approach.

Lawyer Pamela Cross says more consultation should have been done, especially considering “this is the most significant and fundamental change to our tax system in 40 years.” Some are even encouraging a more comprehensive tax overhaul, with lawyer Claire Kennedy noting that, with what’s going on in the U.S., “it would be an opportune time to look at corporate taxation in Canada.”

Taxation issues are complex and usually highly specific. But, as our experts remind us, they could use more scrutiny by most. There are important tax-related rulings anticipated in the months ahead, and all lawyers would be wise to pay attention.

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