New CRA Non-Resident Forms starting January 1st, 2012.

Well, look how time flies!

The new CRA Non-resident treaty-rate requirements take effect on January 1st, 2012.

Non-residents of Canada who are eligible for benefits under a tax treaty entered into between Canada and another country will now have to complete a declaration or provide equivalent information to avail themselves of any reduced rate of tax or exemption provided under the relevant tax treaty instead of relying on their domicile.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently released three declaration forms to be used by non-residents of Canada for this purpose, namely;

Form NR301 – Declaration of eligibility for benefits under a tax treaty for a non-resident taxpayer.

Form NR302 – Declaration of eligibility for benefits under a tax treaty for a partnership with non-resident partners

Form NR303 – Declaration of eligibility for benefits under a tax treaty for a hybrid entity.

What information is the CRA now looking for?

Non-residents of Canada must disclose on these forms the following information:
(i) Legal name of non-resident
(ii) Mailing address of non-resident
(iii) Confirmation of type of non-resident (i.e., individual, corporation or trust)
(iv) Foreign and Canadian tax identification numbers if any
(v) Country of residence for treaty purposes
(vi) Type of income for which the non-resident is eligible for treaty benefits (e.g., interest, dividends, royalties, trust income, income from business carried on in Canada or gains from disposition of taxable Canadian property).

Where does the form go?

The non-resident must immediately notify the payer of any such income, or partnership or hybrid entity through which the income is derived, so they can be given the treaty rate.

Does this form expire?

Yes, These forms expire on the earlier of any change in the non-resident’s eligibility for treaty benefits or three years from the end of the calendar year in which this form is signed and dated.

What onus is now on the payor?

For its part, a Canadian resident payer is instructed NOT to apply a reduced Canadian withholding tax rate under Part XIII where:
(i) The non-resident has not provided the Form or equivalent information and such payer is not sure if the reduced rate applies,
(ii) The Form is not complete
(iii) A tax treaty is not in effect between Canada and the non-resident’s country of residence; or
(iv) Such payer has reason to believe that the information provided in the non-resident’s declaration is incorrect of misleading.

Who is liable?

If the non-resident does not complete the form and the treaty rate is given, the payor is held liable by the CRA for the difference between the treaty rate and the non-treaty rate, so usually 10%.

Big changes!

How are you preparing for them?