Moodys Gartner musings
In 280 BC the Greek King Pyrrhus won a decisive battle against the Roman army. However in winning the battle, Pyrrhus’s army suffered great losses and when Rome had a chance to reconnoiter, it easily defeated what remained of the Greek’s army. Hence is derived the modern term Pyrrhic victory, or a victory gained at too great a cost... at least that’s what Wikipedia has to say about the term. After all, we’re not historians, we’re tax professionals, and we prefer to leave the interpretation of history to those who do it well. Similarly, it occurs to us that the litigants in a recently filed lawsuit could be headed, at best, to a Pyrrhic end. Just as we’re in no position to comment with any authority on ancient history, neither are we in a position to comment on the strength of the arguments in the lawsuit. The lawyers representing the plaintiffs are among the best in Canada, so we are confident that they are well prepared for the battle that lies ahead… the question we’ll address is what comes afterward.
One thing is for sure… Canadians continue to invest significant amounts of money in the US. When investing for business or commercial purposes, Canadian residents are often faced with a fundamental question: what legal structure should be used to ensure that an appropriate balance of tax and non-tax objectives are met? Such a question is not easily answered. As my colleague, Roy Berg, says: “... if someone tells you emphatically what the answer is without exploring all of your facts, then politely ask the person to validate your parking and leave”. One of the structures that has recently been recommended by many US and Canadian advisors is the US limited liability limited partnership (“LLLP”). Accordingly, we will explore that alternative in this article.
Taxation of restrictive covenants – caution when trying to qualify for exceptions to full income inclusions!
Our firm has written about the taxation of restrictive covenants many times before. Section 56.4 of the Income Tax Act is mind-numbingly complex. However, to oversimplify, if a person grants a restrictive covenant, such as a non-compete agreement (which is often part of a purchase and sale agreement for the sale of business), then the person granting the covenant needs to concern themselves with the new section 56.4. If section 56.4 applies, then any amount received or receivable by the grantor (or deemed to be received or receivable pursuant to section 68 of the Act – I call this the “deemed receipt” rule) in respect of that restrictive covenant grant will be taxed as a full income inclusion. This surprises many taxpayers...
In our blog “T1135 transitional guidance” we reported that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) developed transitioning rules which were welcomed relief to taxpayers, but applied only to the 2013 tax year reporting period. On July 8, 2014 the CRA announced that these T1135 transitioning rules will become permanent for 2014 and thereafter, but there are a few significant twists.
Amended IRS voluntary disclosure programs expand eligible taxpayers but create the Canadian snowbird dilemma: Part 1
On June 18, 2014, the IRS announced significant changes to its current offshore voluntary disclosure programs to ease the tax compliance burden for both residents and nonresidents of the United States who are not compliant with their US tax filing obligations. Additionally, the IRS announced new procedures for delinquent FBAR (FinCEN Form 114) or information return (e.g., forms required to report ownership of foreign trusts, controlled foreign corporations, passive foreign investment companies, etc.) submissions. Links to all the revised procedures are accessible from here. These new changes generally clarify and expand the class of individuals eligible for the IRS’s streamlined filing compliance procedures and make the current offshore voluntary disclosure program (OVDP) even more burdensome than it already is. Yet, these changes also pose many new questions and, like any new administrative program, it is uncertain how these changes will be implemented by the IRS in practice.
With the Canadian dollar weakening and the price of US real estate rising, many Canadians who have previously purchased US real estate may now be tempted to sell. Those who purchased after the epic US real estate meltdown may walk away with a hefty profit. However, it is important for every Canadian who is considering selling US real estate to be aware of certain key US and Canadian tax issues in order to avoid getting mired with potentially disastrous consequences. The following are the five key tax issues for a Canadian resident planning to sell personally-owned US real estate, assuming the individual is not a US citizen or otherwise a US person (a determination which is surprisingly complex).