What's new for corporations
2018 – Federal
Voluntary Disclosures Program
Changes have been made to the Voluntary Disclosures Program to narrow its eligibility criteria and ensure greater fairness to taxpayers. To have your application considered under Information Circular IC00-1R5, the CRA must have received your application, including your name, on or before February 28, 2018. After that date, use Information Circular IC00-1R6.
[2018-02-27 Federal budget]
Artificial losses using equity-based financial arrangements
Certain aspects of the synthetic equity arrangement rules and the securities lending arrangement rules will be clarified to prevent corporations from realizing artificial tax losses by using equity-based financial instruments to get around these rules. These measures will apply to dividends that are paid or become payable after February 26, 2018. They will also apply to dividends compensation payments paid or payable, or received or receivable after February 26, 2018, unless they are paid or payable, or received or receivable before October 2018 and made according to a written arrangement entered into before February 27, 2018.
At-risk rules for tiered partnerships
For tax years that end after February 26, 2018, the budget reinstates the Canada Revenue Agency's long-standing position that the at-risk rules apply to a member of a limited partnership that is itself a partnership and that, as a consequence, its share of the limited partnership's losses cannot be flowed up to its own members to the extent they exceed its at-risk amount in respect of the limited partnership. This budget item was made necessary following a contrary recent court decision. Also, a corporation's non-capital loss and limited partnership loss carryforward balances for preceding tax years are adjusted to what they would be, had the proposed at-risk rules applied to partnerships in those preceding years (where the corporation has calculated these balances according to the court’s decision).
Capital cost allowance
Currently, class 43.2 provides an accelerated capital cost allowance at a rate of 50%, on a declining-balance basis, for specified clean energy generation and energy conservation equipment for property acquired before 2020. The eligibility is extended to property acquired before 2025.
Cross-border surplus stripping using partnership and trusts
For transactions or events that occur after February 26, 2018, the application of an existing anti-surplus stripping rule is generally expanded to prevent a non-resident shareholder of a Canadian corporation from extracting (either now or in the future), without withholding tax, the corporation's retained earnings that exceed the amount of capital that has been contributed to the corporation by the shareholder. The rule is expanded by including a look-through rule where a partnership or trust is used to avoid the purposes of the anti-surplus stripping provision.
For tax years of a corporation's foreign affiliate that begin after February 26, 2018, new rules are introduced to address corporate structures where entities are put in place to avoid the investment business rule and accrual basis taxation. Also, the reassessment period is extended by three years for income arising in connection with a foreign affiliate of a corporation.
For tax years that begin after 2019, Form T1134, Information Return Relating to Controlled and Not-Controlled Foreign Affiliates, has to be filed within 6 months after the end of the corporation's tax year, rather than 15 months.
Passive investment income
For tax years that begin after 2018, the business limit of a Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC) will be phased-out on a straight-line basis if the CCPC, and any other corporation with which it is associated, earn combined income from passive investments between $50,000 and $150,000. Currently, the business limit is phased-out based only on the taxable capital employed in Canada. The reduction in the CCPC’s business limit will be the greater of its taxable capital business limit reduction and its passive income business limit reduction for the year.
For tax years that begin after 2018, the dividend refund rule will be changed so that a private corporation will get a refund of its refundable dividend tax on hand (RDTOH) only where it pays non-eligible dividends, or eligible dividends that are derived from portfolio dividends it received from non-connected corporations. A transitional rule will preserve the refundability of a corporation's pre existing RDTOH.
The reassessment periods are extended that relate to:
- foreign affiliates
- non-resident non-arm's length persons
- requirements for information and compliance orders
Non-resident non-arm's length person
For losses incurred in a particular tax year that ends after February 26, 2018, the reassessment period for a preceding tax year to which those losses are carried back is extended by six years if both of the following apply:
- the losses are reduced as a result of a reassessment made to the particular tax year beyond the normal reassessment period for the year
- the reassessment to the particular tax year is made as a consequence of a transaction involving the corporation and a non-arm's length non-resident person
Requirements for information and compliance orders
For challenges instituted after royal assent, a "stop-the-clock" rule is introduced for requirements for information served to corporations and for compliance orders. This rule will extend the reassessment period of a corporation by the period of time during which the requirement or compliance order is contested. The period will generally start the day on which the challenge is started and will end on the final disposition of the application (including any appeals). Previously, similar rules applied only to situations involving foreign-based information.
Small business deduction
The small business deduction increases to 18% effective January 1, 2018, and to 19% effective January 1, 2019, resulting in small business tax rates of 10% and 9%.
Stop-loss rule on share repurchase transactions
For a share repurchase occurring after February 26, 2018, the rules related to shares held as mark-to-market property are amended so that the tax loss otherwise realized on a share repurchase is generally decreased by the dividend deemed to be received on that repurchase when that dividend is eligible for the inter-corporate dividend deduction. Previously, in certain circumstances, the dividend stop-loss rule generally denied only a portion of the tax loss realized on a share repurchase.
2018 – Provinces and territories
British Columbia book publishing tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end March 31, 2018, is extended three years to March 31, 2021.
British Columbia corporate tax avoidance – The BC government introduced updates to its anti-avoidance rule and other amendments that require corporations in BC to disclose aggressive tax avoidance transactions to the Canada Revenue Agency. This parallels the federal approach on reportable transaction rules and applies to a reportable transaction entered into after February 20, 2018, or a reportable transaction that is part of a series of transactions completed after February 20, 2018.
British Columbia farmers’ food donation tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end December 31, 2018, is extended to December 31, 2019.
British Columbia film and television tax credit – This credit is expanded to include a new scriptwriting tax credit. This new refundable credit is equal to 35% of eligible scriptwriting expenditures directly attributable to the development of script material for a production. This includes salary, wages, and other remuneration and reimbursements. The expenses have to be incurred after February 20, 2018, maximum two years before the date principal photography begins, and before the end of the final script stage. The amounts have to be paid no later than 60 days after the end of the tax year in which principal photography began.
British Columbia interactive digital media tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end August 31, 2018, is extended five years to August 31, 2023.
Manitoba book publishing tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end on December 31, 2018, is extended to December 31, 2019.
Manitoba business limit – Effective January 1, 2019, the Manitoba business income limit eligible for the small business deduction will increase from $450,000 to $500,000.
Manitoba child care centre development tax credit – A new refundable income tax credit is introduced for the creation of licensed child care centres in work places. The tax credit is available for taxable private corporations that create, after March 12, 2018 and before 2021, new child care centres for their employees. The credit can reach $10,000 over five years per infant or preschool space created. The corporation must not be primarily engaged in child care services.
Manitoba credit unions special deduction – Credit unions and caisses populaires in Manitoba are eligible for an additional deduction for income over the business limit that is not eligible for the small business deduction. This additional deduction will be phased out beginning January 1, 2019, as follows: 80% for 2019, 60% for 2020, 40% for 2021, 20% for 2022, and 0% after 2022.
Manitoba cultural industries printing tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end on December 31, 2018, is extended to December 31, 2019.
Manitoba rental housing construction tax credit – Effective January 1, 2019, this credit will be eliminated. Projects currently under provincial review or with provincial approvals are not affected. No new project applications will be processed after 2018 and any future projects must be available for use before 2021.
Manitoba small business venture capital tax credit – Effective March 12, 2018, the minimum investment to be eligible for the credit is lowered from $20,000 to $10,000. Also, the $15 million maximum revenue that applies to an eligible corporation is eliminated.
2017 – Federal
Some tax preparation software will let you file your supporting documents, such as certificates and elections, electronically.
For emissions allowances acquired in tax years beginning after 2012 and before 2017, you must make an election in your 2016 or 2017 income tax return under subsection 10(2) if you want your emissions allowances to be treated as inventory. After 2016, emission allowances will be treated as inventory for all corporations.
Relevant spot rate
The exchange rate to be used in converting amounts for determining your Canadian tax results is specified in the definition of relevant spot rate in subsection 261(1) of the Income Tax Act. As a result of the Bank of Canada making changes to its published rates, this definition is modified as of March 1, 2017, to change the reference from the noon rate to the new daily exchange rate that the Bank of Canada publishes per currency pair at 16:30 Eastern time on the particular day. In certain situations, corporations are allowed to use an exchange rate other than as determined above, if that rate is acceptable to the CRA.
Reporting of the sale or disposition of real estate
To improve reporting of the sale or disposition of real estate, beginning with tax years that end after October 2, 2016, the CRA may at any time reassess an income tax return beyond the normal reassessment period, in certain situations.
[October 24, 2017, Finance Fall Economic Statement]
Small business deduction
The small business deduction will increase to 18% effective January 1, 2018, and to 19% effective January 1, 2019, resulting in small business tax rates of 10% and 9%.
[2017-03-22 Federal budget]
Additional deduction for gifts of medicine
For gifts of medicine made after March 21, 2017, the additional deduction for gifts of medicine is eliminated. This measure does not affect the general income tax treatment of donations made by corporations to registered charities, including gifts of medicine.
For tax years that begin after March 21, 2017, professional corporations are no longer permitted to elect to exclude the value of work in progress at the end of a tax year from business income for that year.
As a transitional measure, where a corporation has elected to use billed-basis accounting for its last tax year that begins before March 22, 2017, the inclusion of work in progress is phased into income as follows:
- for the first tax year of the corporation that begins after March 21, 2017, 20% of the lesser of the cost and the fair market value of work in progress will be taken into account for determining the value of inventory held by the business under the ITA
- this rate will increase progressively to reach 100% at the end of the fifth tax year that begins after March 21, 2017
Capital cost allowance
Currently, equipment that uses geothermal energy is eligible for inclusion in class 43.1 or class 43.2 if it is primarily used to generate electricity. However, equipment used primarily for heating purposes was generally included in class 1.
For property acquired for use after March 21, 2017, that has not been used or acquired for use before March 22, 2017, the following applies:
- accelerated capital cost allowance (CCA) is allowed for geothermal equipment that is used primarily to generate heat or a combination of heat and electricity
geothermal heat is included as an eligible thermal energy source for use in a district energy system, which makes such a system eligible for accelerated CCA
Environmental compliance – The above applies only if the equipment, when it first becomes available for use, meets the requirements of all Canadian environmental laws, by-laws, and regulations that apply.
Changes were announced concerning the approval of recipients, private foundations, personal servitude, and unauthorized changes of use or dispositions of property.
For ecological gifts made after March 21, 2017:
- the requirement to approve recipients of ecologically sensitive land on a gift-by-gift basis is extended to recipients that are municipalities and municipal and public bodies performing a function of government. They were previously automatically eligible recipients, without the need for approval;
- private foundations will no longer be permitted to receive ecological gifts;
- in the case of land in the Province of Quebec, donations of personal servitudes that run for at least 100 years can qualify. Previously, only real servitudes could qualify.
A tax of 50% of the fair market value of the land (property) is imposed on a recipient who, without the consent of the minister of Environment and Climate Change (ECC) or a person designated by that minister, changes the use of the property or disposes of it. This would not apply when the recipient (referred to as the first recipient) subsequently transferred the ecological gift to another recipient, referred to as the second (and subsequent) recipient.
For dispositions made and changes of use that occur after March 21, 2017:
- the 50% tax will be imposed on the second (and subsequent) recipient if they change the use of the property or dispose of the property without the consent of the minister of ECC or a person designated by that minister
- determination of whether a recipient has changed the use of the property falls under the mandate of the minister of ECC
Extending base erosion rules to foreign branches of life insurers
The foreign accrual property income (FAPI) regime includes anti-avoidance rules that ensure that profits of a controlled foreign affiliate of a Canadian taxpayer from the insurance of specified Canadian risk (typically a risk insured through a life, property or business insurance policy) remain taxable in Canada. These rules have been strengthened for tax years that start after March 21, 2017.
New rules, modeled on the strengthened anti avoidance rules in the FAPI regime, were introduced to ensure that Canadian life insurers are taxable in Canada with respect to their income from the insurance of specified Canadian risk by a foreign branch in certain circumstances, for tax years that start after March 21, 2017.
Factual control of a corporation
For tax years that begin after March 21, 2017, the determination of whether a taxpayer has any direct or indirect influence that, if exercised, would result in factual control of the corporation, shall:
- take into consideration all factors that are relevant in the circumstances
- not be limited to whether the taxpayer has a legally enforceable right or ability to effect a change in the board of directors of the corporation, or the board's power, or to exercise influence over the shareholders who have that right or ability. The previous factors are not mandatory in determining factual control
Insurers of farming and fishing property
For tax years that begin after 2018, the tax exemption for income earned from the insurance of property used in farming or fishing (including residences of farmers or fishers) will be eliminated.
Investment tax credit for child care spaces
For expenditures incurred after March 21, 2017, this investment tax credit is eliminated. As a transitional measure, the credit is available for eligible expenditures incurred before 2020 under a written agreement entered into before March 22, 2017.
Merger of switch corporations into mutual fund trusts
A mutual fund corporation (MFC) can merge with a single mutual fund trust (MFT) on a tax-deferred basis where the transaction is considered to be a qualifying exchange.
For transactions occurring after March 21, 2017, a qualifying exchange may include a situation in which a MFC (transferor), such as a switch corporation*, merges with more than one MFT (transferee). Several conditions must be met in order for such a transaction to be a qualifying exchange.
For example, the transferor and each transferee must jointly elect in respect of the qualifying exchange by filing a prescribed form no later than six months after the day of the merger.
* Switch corporations are MFCs with multiple classes of shares, where typically each class is recognized by securities legislation as a distinct investment fund.
Expenses incurred after March 21, 2017, for determining the extent and quality of a geothermal resource or for the drilling of a well, for both electricity and heating projects described in class 43.1 (geothermal projects), qualify as Canadian renewable and conservation expenses if at least 50% of the depreciable property is to be used in the geothermal project (determined by reference to its capital cost). So, these expenses may be deducted in full in the year, carried forward indefinitely in the future or transferred to investors using flow-through shares.
For expenses incurred after 2018:
Qualifying expenditures associated with the drilling or completing of an oil or gas discovery well (a previously unknown petroleum or natural gas reservoir), expenditures in building a temporary access road to, or in preparing a site for any such well, will be classified as Canadian development expenses (CDE) instead of Canadian exploration expenses (CEE). Expenditures incurred before 2021 in connection with an obligation that was committed to in writing (including a commitment to a government under the terms of a license or permit) by the corporation before March 22, 2017, will continue to be classified as CEE.
Drilling expenditures will continue to be classified as CEE, or reclassified as CEE, in situations where the well has been abandoned (or has not produced within 24 months) or the minister of Natural Resources has certified that the relevant costs associated with drilling the well are expected to be more than $5 million and it will not produce within 24 months.
Eligible small oil and gas corporations will no longer be allowed to treat the first $1 million of CDE as CEE when renounced to shareholders under a flow‑through share agreement. The measure will include expenses incurred in 2019 that could have been deemed to be incurred in 2018 because of the look-back rule. Expenditures incurred under flow‑through share agreements entered into after 2016 and before March 22, 2017, will still be allowed this treatment, if the expenses are incurred after 2018 and before April 2019.
Specified cooperative income
For tax years that begin after March 21, 2016, the definition of specified corporate income is amended to exclude specified cooperative income, so that such income remains eligible for the small business deduction by default.
Timing of recognition of gains and losses on derivatives
Mark-to-market election on eligible derivatives – For tax years that begin after March 21, 2017, corporations can elect to use the mark-to-market method to value all of their eligible derivatives (including, for financial institutions, eligible derivatives that are not mark-to-market property). Under this method, the corporation will be required annually to include the increase or decrease in value of its eligible derivatives in calculating its income. Any accrued gain or loss on such a derivative at the beginning of the first election year will be deferred until the tax year in which the derivative is disposed, settled or extinguished. If an election is made on or before the filing-due date for a particular tax year, it will apply to that year and all later years, unless it is revoked by the corporation with the consent of the minister of National Revenue.
Straddle transactions – In addition, for positions entered into by a person or partnership after March 21, 2017, rules were introduced to prevent corporations that have not elected to use the mark-to-market method from attempting to selectively realize gains and losses on derivatives held on an income account through the use of straddle transactions. A stop-loss rule will defer the realization of any loss on the disposition of a position to the extent of any unrealized gain on an offsetting position.
In general terms, a straddle transaction is a transaction in which a corporation (and/or a non-arm’s length or affiliated person or partnership) concurrently enters into two or more positions that are expected to generate equal and offsetting gains and losses. Shortly before the tax year-end, the corporation disposes of the position with the accrued loss and realizes the loss, which it applies against other income earned in the year. Shortly after the beginning of the next tax year, the corporation disposes of the offsetting position with the accrued gain and realizes the gain.
Under Part II, a tobacco manufacturers' surtax applies on a corporation's Part I tax on tobacco manufacturing profits. This surtax is eliminated for tax years that start after March 22, 2017. For a tax year that includes March 22, 2017, the surtax is prorated based on the number of days of the year that are before March 23, 2017, and the number of days in the year.
[Bill C–29, R.A. 2016-12-15]
Country-by-country reporting requirements apply to any multinational enterprise group that has total consolidated group revenue of €750 million or more, as reflected in its consolidated financial statements in the immediately preceding fiscal year. In Canada, the requirements apply to fiscal years of the multinational enterprise group beginning on or after January 1, 2016. For more information see Guide RC4651, Guidance on Country-by-Country Reporting in Canada, and Form RC4649, Country-by-Country Report.
2017 – Provinces and territories
British Columbia additional deduction for credit unions – For 2017 and following years, credit unions will continue to receive 100% of the full value of this preferential treatment. Exceptionally, this rate was 80% in 2016.
British Columbia book publishing tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end March 31, 2017, is extended to March 31, 2018.
British Columbia corporation income tax rates – Effective April 1, 2017, the lower rate of British Columbia corporation income tax decreases from 2.5% to 2%. Effective January 1, 2018, the higher rate increases from 11% to 12%.
British Columbia film and television tax credit – The definition of designated Vancouver area is amended to align the eastern boundary of the designated Vancouver area with the eastern boundary of the City of Surrey for productions with principal photography starting on or after January 25, 2017.
British Columbia interactive digital media tax credit – For tax years that end after February 21, 2017:
- Corporations whose annual qualifying B.C. labour expenses are equal to or greater than $2 million are eligible to claim this credit, even if developing interactive digital media products is not their principal business
- Interactive digital media corporations registered as eligible business corporations in the small business venture capital program are eligible to claim the credit
British Columbia mining exploration tax credit – Exploration expenses will include expenses incurred after February 28, 2015, for environmental studies and community consultation to get a right, licence or privilege for determining the existence, location, extent or quality of a mineral resource in B.C.
British Columbia production services tax credit – The definition of designated Vancouver area is amended to align the eastern boundary of the designated Vancouver area with the eastern boundary of the City of Surrey for productions with principal photography starting on or after January 25, 2017.
British Columbia small business venture capital tax credit – For tax years that end after February 21, 2017, eligible business corporations participating in the small business venture capital program are allowed to claim the British Columbia interactive digital media tax credit.
British Columbia SR&ED tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end August 31, 2017, is extended five years to August 31, 2022.
British Columbia training tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to expire at the end of 2017, is extended to the end of 2018.
Manitoba book publishing tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end on December 31, 2017, is extended to December 31, 2018.
Manitoba co-operative development tax credit – This credit is eliminated for contributions made after April 11, 2017.
Manitoba data processing investment tax credits – These credits are eliminated for property purchased or leased after April 11, 2017.
Manitoba interactive digital media tax credit – This credit, which was scheduled to end on December 31, 2019, is extended to December 31, 2022.
Manitoba manufacturing investment tax credit – For qualifying property acquired after April 11, 2017, the rate of the non-refundable part of this credit is reduced from 2% to 1% of the cost of the property. The 8% credit rate for the refundable part is not affected by this change. Also, the credit, which was scheduled to end on December 31, 2017, is extended to December 31, 2020.
Manitoba Neighbourhoods Alive! tax credit – This credit is eliminated for contributions made after April 11, 2017.
Manitoba nutrient management tax credit – This credit is eliminated for expenditures made after April 11, 2017.
Manitoba odour-control tax credit – This credit is eliminated for expenditures made after April 11, 2017.
Manitoba paid work experience tax credit – Crown corporations and other provincial government entities are ineligible for this credit for tax years ending after 2016.
Manitoba research and development tax credit – For eligible expenditures made after April 11, 2017, the rate of this tax credit is reduced from 20% to 15%.
Lower rate of New Brunswick corporation income tax – Effective April 1, 2018, the lower rate of the corporation income tax will further decrease from 3% to 2.5%.
New Brunswick political contribution tax credit – This credit is eliminated for political contributions made by corporations after May 31, 2017.
Lower rate of New Brunswick corporation income tax – Effective April 1, 2017, the lower rate of the corporation income tax will decrease from 3.5% to 3%.
Nova Scotia business limit – Effective January 1, 2017, the Nova Scotia small business income limit for calculating the small business deduction increases from $350,000 to $500,000.
[Bill 177, R.A. 2017-12-14]
Lower rate of Ontario corporation income tax – Effective January 1, 2018, the lower rate of Ontario corporation income tax decreases from 4.5% to 3.5%.
Ontario apprenticeship training tax credit – This credit is eliminated for apprenticeship programs in which the training agreement or contract of apprenticeship is registered after November 14, 2017.
Ontario computer animation and special effects tax credit – The definition of eligible production is amended to list the productions excluded from the definition effective January 1, 2009. It explicitly excludes talk shows, maintaining the treatment of talk show as ineligible for the Ontario computer animation and special effects tax credit.
Ontario small business deduction – Since March 22, 2016, if a corporation assigns any part of its federal business limit to another corporation under subsection 125(3.2) of the federal Income Tax Act, the corporation’s Ontario business limit is reduced by the same amount by which the federal business limit is reduced.
[2017-03-14 Regulation 77/17]
Ontario film and television tax credit – Effective March 14, 2017, assistance that is a payment from the 2015 Ontario Production Services and Computer Animation and Special Effects Transitional Fund ("Transitional Grant") to a qualifying corporation is not considered as government assistance. You do not have to subtract such amounts from the qualifying labour expenditures when you determine the credit amount.
Ontario production services tax credit – Effective March 14, 2017, assistance that is a payment from the 2015 Ontario Production Services and Computer Animation and Special Effects Transitional Fund ("Transitional Grant") to a qualifying corporation is not considered as government assistance. You do not have to subtract such amounts from the qualifying Ontario labour expenditures when you determine the credit amount.
[Bill 84, R.A.December 7, 2017]
Higher rate of Saskatchewan corporation income tax – Effective July 1, 2018, the higher rate of the Saskatchewan corporation income tax will increase from 11.5% to 12%.
Saskatchewan business limit – Effective January 1, 2018, the Saskatchewan small business income limit for calculating the small business deduction increases from $500,000 to $600,000.
Higher rate of Saskatchewan corporation income tax – Effective July 1, 2017, the higher rate of the Saskatchewan corporation income tax decreases from 12% to 11.5%.
Saskatchewan additional deduction for credit unions – Credit unions in Saskatchewan are eligible for an additional deduction for income over the business limit that is not eligible for the small business deduction. This additional deduction will be phased out over the next four years, starting in 2017.
Saskatchewan manufacturing and processing investment tax credit – For qualified property acquired after March 22, 2017, the tax credit rate is increased from 5% to 6% of the capital cost.
Saskatchewan research and development tax credit – Effective April 1, 2017, Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) are eligible for a 10% refundable tax credit on the first $1 million of qualifying expenditures. Qualifying expenditures that are more that this annual limit, and those incurred by non-CCPCs, remain eligible for the 10% non-refundable credit. A yearly maximum of $10 million for total qualifying expenditures is set for refundable and non-refundable tax credits.
Yukon corporation income tax rates – Effective July 1, 2017, the lower rate of Yukon corporation income tax decreases from 3% to 2% and the higher rate decreases from 15% to 12%.
Yukon manufacturing and processing profits tax credit – Effective July 1, 2017, the Yukon manufacturing and processing profits tax credit decreases from 12.5% to 9.5%. The small business increment decreases from 1.5% to 0.5%. The credit is prorated for tax years that straddle July 1, 2017.
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