Mailing to Supressed Holders – CRA and MRQ.

Have you ever wondered if you are required by law to mail out a tax slip to an individual / entity even though in doing so you know it will be returned by the post office marked as “undeliverable”.

These Q&A’s below may help you get a cleared picture of your legal requirements;

Q1: Is there a requirement to mail tax forms to suppressed holders?

A1: Yes. There is no statutory exception to this requirement. The forms specifically mentioned included; the T5, T5008, T4, T4PS, T4RSP, T4RIF, RSPR, T3, NR4, T5013 and T101.

Q2: Will the government excuse you from mailing to suppressed holders if the issuer/client advises you not to mail them / their clients?

A2: No, the obligation to mail is yours, because you make the payment (e.g. dividend or interest). In fact, if there were a penalty charged for failing to provide a tax slip, it would be on you, not the entity or person advising you.

The Income Tax Act does not specifically say “you must mail to suppressed holders”.  Rather, it states that if you make a payment, you have to send out a tax form.   The Income Tax Act does not make a distinction between suppressed holders and other holders. (Note, even though we do not actually “make a payment” – in that we do not send out a cheque to a suppressed holder – the analysis is the same.)

Q3: Is the requirement to mail absolute regardless of the dollar amount, or is there a dollar amount threshold? For example, don’t have to mail unless the aggregate amount paid to a holder is greater than $50.00.

A3: There is a $50 threshold for T5 reporting (that is, the CRA does not require that a T5 be prepared if the amount of the payment was less than $50).  For the other tax forms, there is no threshold.

Q4: What about prior tax years?  Do we have to mail these prior years’ tax forms if requested?

A4: There is nothing in the Income Tax Act which would alleviate the responsibility to provide prior year forms and failing to provide one may result in a complaint and subsequent audit.

Q5: What is the situation with respect to suppressed holders under the Quebec income tax regime, the MRQ?

A5: Similar to the Federal Income Tax Act, under the Quebec income tax regime (a) there is a requirement to mail the tax forms and (b) you are not excused from mailing if the issuer/client advises you not to mail.

Bottom line… Mail!

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T5008. Box 20. Adjusted Cost Base.

If you have disposed of securities you will receive either a T5008 slip, a Statement of Securities Transactions, or a customized statement from your dealer, broker or fund company detailing a list of all your dispositions in that year.

The purpose of the T5008 information slip is to report the amount paid or credited to you (an investor) for securities disposed of or redeemed during the year.

Firms that issue T5008 slips generally report only the “proceeds of disposition” (box 21) and not the “cost or book value” (box 20) on the slips since the cost is often either not known or tracked by many brokerage firms. Therefore the onus is on the investor — perhaps with your assistance — to track their own tax cost or adjusted cost base of the securities held, in order to accurately report the capital gain or loss on his or her tax return.

You should also report all non-registered securities dispositions in that year on Schedule 3 of your personal tax return, even if you don’t get a formal T5008 slip and instead just get a customized capital gains summary from your dealer or fund company.

I recall a case from CRA days which relates to the 5008. Rajah v The Queen, 2005 TCC 637. In this case, it is made very clear that the CRA has the ability, where warranted, to use the information obtained from T5008 filings to audit, reassess and even charge penalties to non-compliant taxpayers.

A little about the case. During 1995, 1996 and 1997, Sahadevan E. Rajah bought and sold “a considerable number” of securities through various securities dealers. Rajah failed to disclose any of his securities dealings on his tax returns for those years, despite certifying in writing that the returns were “correct and complete.”

The CRA was able to obtain information from the T5008 filings that initially reported total proceeds of disposition as $66,766 in 1995, $1,991,811 in 1996 and $228,682 in 1997 (the 1996 amount was later reduced by $432,665 to eliminate a duplication). The CRA then wrote to Rajah asking him to provide supporting monthly brokerage statements, trading slips and his calculations of the ACB for each disposition.

Having received no response, the CRA advised Rajah that they would reassess his filed returns and include the full amount of proceeds in his income for each respective year, without having any evidence as to the appropriate ACB to be used.

The judge was somewhat critical of CRA’s approach, saying that “it must have been obvious… that Rajah] had not obtained the securities sold at no cost. Even a novice assessor must know that… the Income Tax] Act provides [that] ‘a taxpayer’s income for a taxation year… is the taxpayer’s profit… for the year.’ Yet, Revenue made no effort to determine cost or allow for it except by way of demand to Rajah] for documented proof. If this was an attempt to mete out an extra-legal penalty it can hardly be justified.”

After the CRA reassessed Rajah, he filed a notice of objection with the appeals division and submitted to the CRA various brokerage slips establishing the ACB of some, but not all, of the securities that were disposed of in the years in question. The CRA reassessed those years for which they had proof of ACB.

The judge concluded that the onus was on Rajah to establish “on the balance of probabilities that he incurred costs in excess of those allowed” by the CRA’s reassessment. Since Rajah did not provide any additional ACB evidence, the CRA’s reassessments were upheld.

The CRA also imposed gross negligence penalties. Under the Income Tax Act, a gross negligence penalty can be imposed on a taxpayer who has either “knowingly” or “under circumstances amounting to gross negligence” made a false statement or omission in a return.

Given that Rajah’s tax returns failed to disclose any income from the sale of securities, the Judge found that the “failure to refer to the transactions when made by a person with the [Rajah’s] education and experience in the business world can only have been made in circumstances amounting to gross negligence.”

The bottom line… Report all taxable dispositions on your tax return each year or risk being subject to gross negligence penalties on top of the tax and arrears interest that will be owing and ensure you keep meticulous records of your ACB so that you can prove it to the CRA if they ever come knocking.

FIN to BN Conversion Process – CRA Press Release from October 2009.

FIN to BN conversion process If you filed a T5, T5007, T5008, T5013, or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Contribution Receipts information return in 2008 or 2009, the CRA will automatically convert your Filer Identification Number (FIN). A successful conversion will result in an RZ account number being added to your existing BN.

Note:
Filers of the T5018 information return will have the RZ account number added to their existing BN.  

The Contract Payment Reporting System (CPRS) requires construction businesses to record payments they make to subcontractors for construction services and to report these payments to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  The CPRS was also developed to require contract reporting by Crown corporations (since 1998) and federal departments and agencies (since 1999).

The conversion will occur throughout November and December 2009. You may have been mailed a letter advising you of your new RZ account number once it has been created.  If you did not receive one you will need to have the authorized representative contact the CRA at the general enquiries line, 1.800.959.5525 to set one up. 

Note:
If your filing is done by a branch office or a third party, such as an accountant or service bureau, advise them of your new account number.

Some FINs may not convert due to discrepancies between the FIN and the BN account information. If you do not receive notification by mail of your RZ account number by the end of December 2009, or you require an additional account to suit your business needs, contact the CRA.

If you have received notification of your RZ account number, but you are no longer required to file any of these information returns, you can have the account closed by contacting the CRA.

Note:
If you will be filing a TFSA return, you will not be part of this conversion. Go to TFSA Annual Information Return for more information.

New Electronic Filing Requirements for GST Coming…

With the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), effective July 1, 2010, some registrants will be required to file their GST/HST returns electronically.

This will differ from the current paper filing system that most registrants use and will affect registrants currently filing their returns quarterly or monthly.

For reporting periods ending after June 30, 2010, GST/HST registrants will be required to file their returns electronically if they:

  • have annual taxable supplies (on an associated group basis) exceeding $1.5 million (charities excepted);
  • are referred to as “large businesses” and are required to recapture input tax credits (ITCs) for the provincial portion of the HST on certain expense categories; or
  • are builders that must report:

– transitional tax adjustments;

– transitional new housing rebates (provincial portion of HST);

– sales of grandparented housing (i.e., ownership and possession transferred to purchaser after June 30, 2010, under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into before June 19, 2009) if the purchaser is not entitled to claim GST/HST new housing or new residential rental property rebates; or

– housing sales that are subject to HST, if the builder purchased housing on a grandparented basis.
The recapture of ITCs and the transitional taxes applicable to builders will be reported in separate information fields on a schedule that accompanies the GST/HST return. For registrants affected by the ITC restrictions, the restricted or recaptured ITCs will be calculated as:

Failure to file GST/HST returns electronically may result in penalties being imposed by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Is there a requirement for a US company who is mailing a tax document to a resident of Quebec to mail the document in French?

 

After some investigation, speaking to the IRS, and then to the CRA, I found nothing. I should have reached out to the Quebec government.

Legally, an employer must provide a French version of a document if requested by the employee as stipulated in
The Charter of the French Language.  Here is the link: http://www.olf.gouv.qc.ca/english/charter/index.html

2. Every person has a right to have the civil administration, the health services and social services, the public utility enterprises, the professional corporations, the associations of employees and all enterprises doing business in Quebec communicate with him in French.

6. Every person eligible for instruction in Québec has a right to receive that instruction in French

The Penalties:

Section 205. Every person who contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations adopted by the Government thereunder commits an offence and is liable

(a) for each offence, to a fine of $250 to $700 in the case of a natural person, and of $500 to $l,400 in the case of a legal person;

(b) for any subsequent conviction, to a fine of $500 to $1,400 in the case of a natural person, and of $1,000 to $7,000 in the case of a legal person.

Now we know!