There was no material evidence of commercial effort

Tax – Income tax – Tax avoidance

Taxpayer, who was retired concert musician, undertook two distinct endeavors, one associated with abstract photography. Regarding his abstract photography endeavor, taxpayer traveled extensively to Paris and also several states in United States, and as such, most of taxpayer's expenses concerned travel costs. Taxpayer sold six photography books in total, four and two in taxation years 2013 and 2104, respectively, and this was in contrast to sale of 236 copies of high-end portfolio photography book in 2006. Minister reassessed taxpayer, for two taxpayer years, 2013 and 2014, challenging him on basis of existence of any business, business purpose of expenses and reasonableness of expenses for two taxation years. Taxpayer appealed. Appeal dismissed. Taxpayer produced no books or records reflecting receipts or expenses for photography endeavor, there was no business plan or other marketing materials beyond description of direct sales, on-site approach to museum curators and gallery owners and rudimentary website. All contracts were oral in nature, as presumably were invoices and receipts for payment. Gross revenue of undertaking never approached 10 per cent of expenses in more than decade of pursuit. There was no material evidence of commercial effort and there was personal nexus to taxpayer's photography endeavor.

Hurwitz v. The Queen (2020), 2020 CarswellNat 441, 2020 TCC 31, Randall S. Bocock J. (T.C.C. [Informal Procedure]).

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