On December 8–9, 2020, delegations of Canadian Income Tax Committee and Canadian Commodity Tax Committee members virtually participated in TEI's annual liaison meetings with representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency ("CRA") and Department of Finance. The 2020 meetings featured robust agendas covering a range of tax law, policy, and administration issues of importance to many TEI members.
This year's income tax agendas naturally focused on a number of issues related to the government's fiscal responses to the COVID-19 crisis, including the implementation of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit ("CERB") and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy ("CEWS"). The CRA meeting, in particular, addressed the government's initiative to reduce employers' income tax compliance and reporting burdens in respect of their employees who are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Finance meeting also featured an in-depth policy discussion of several TEI proposals for building on the tax measures that were included in the government's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to restart the Canadian economy, as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Other agenda items included the taxation of cross-border cash pooling arrangements, the prohibited investment rules for retirement compensation arrangements, and the (premature) collection of disputed tax amounts from large corporations, among many others.
This year's commodity tax agenda addressed issues related to CRA's handling of various items during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of electronic signatures, e-mail communications, data transfers, credits and refunds, large case audits, and statutes of limitation. TEI's members also received an update from CRA regarding My Business Account initiatives and features, updates regarding CRA's appeals and objections status, and addressed questions regarding amalgamations, Section 167, purchase orders, wash transactions, the Beaudet case, and commodity tax filings. The Commodity Tax Committee discussed various legislative initiatives with the Department of Finance, including the recently-issued Fall Economic Statement, non-resident registration requirements, emissions performance credits and offsets, pension plan rebate time limits, and Finance's intentions for the joint venture election.
The delegations were led by Kurtis Bond, Chair of TEI's Canadian Income Tax Committee, Don Mills, Chair of TEI's Canadian Commodity Tax Committee, with the Institute's International President, Jim Kennedy, Regional Vice President for Region I (Canada), Josie Scalia, and TEI Tax Counsels, Pilar Mata and Watson McLeish.