03 May Federal Budget Commentary: International Measures
Digital Platform Operators – Disclosure Requirements
The digital economy (including the sharing and gig economies, and online sellers of goods) continues to grow at a rapid pace. Participants in the digital economy often make use of digital platforms. Many tax authorities are concerned that not all participants are aware of the tax implications of their online activities. In addition, transactions occurring digitally through online platforms may not be visible to tax administrations, making it difficult for CRA to identify non-compliance.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has developed model rules for reporting by digital platform operators with respect to platform sellers which require the platforms to collect and report relevant information to tax administrations. The model rules provide for the sharing of information between tax administrations so that an online platform would generally need to report the information to only one jurisdiction, and that jurisdiction would then share the information with partner jurisdictions based on the residence of each person earning revenue through the platform. Jurisdictions which have announced their intention to implement such a framework include the European Union, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Budget 2022 proposes to implement the model rules in Canada. They would require reporting platform operators that provide support to reportable sellers for relevant activities to determine the jurisdiction of residence of their reportable sellers and report certain information on them. Reporting platform operators would be entities that make software that runs a platform available for the sellers to be connected to other users, or to collect compensation through the platform.
The measure would generally apply to platform operators that are resident for tax purposes in Canada, and to platform operators that are not resident in Canada or a partner jurisdiction (one that has implemented similar rules and will share data with CRA on Canadian activity) and that facilitate relevant activities by Canadian residents or with respect to rental of real property located in Canada.
Relevant activities would be sales of goods and relevant services including the following:
- personal services outside of an employment relationship (e.g. transportation and delivery services, manual labour, tutoring, data manipulation and clerical, legal or accounting tasks);
- rental of real property (residential or commercial; parking spaces); and
- rental of means of transportation.
Reporting would not be required in respect of sellers that represent a limited compliance risk, including government entities, publicly listed entities, large providers of hotel accommodation (more than 2,000 per year in respect of a property listing) and, with respect to the sales of goods, sellers who make less than 30 sales a year for a total of not more than 2,000 euro.
Reporting platform operators would be required to provide the required disclosures to CRA by January 31 of the year following the calendar year. CRA would automatically exchange information received on sellers resident in partner jurisdictions. Likewise, CRA would receive information on Canadian sellers from partner jurisdictions. This measure would apply to calendar years beginning after 2023, with the first reporting and exchange of information expected to take place in early 2025 with respect to the 2024 calendar year.
Ban on Residential Real Estate Purchases by Non-residents
The government intends to prohibit foreign commercial enterprises and people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from acquiring non-recreational, residential property in Canada for a period of two years. This would not apply to refugees and people authorized to come to Canada while fleeing international crises, certain international students on the path to permanent residency or individuals on work permits who are residing in Canada.
Other International Measures
International Tax Reform – Base Erosion and Profit Shifting
Canada is one of 137 members of the OECD/Group of 20 (G20) Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the Inclusive Framework) that have joined a two-pillar plan for international tax reform agreed to on October 8, 2021. Budget 2022 reiterates Canada’s commitment to the framework, and its intention to implement the Pillar One (intended to reallocate a portion of taxing rights over the profits of the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises to market countries where their users and customers are located) and Pillar Two (intended to ensure that the profits of large multinational enterprises are subject to an effective tax rate of at least 15%, regardless of where they are earned) initiatives.
Budget 2022 sets out the government’s plans for consultation and implementation of these initiatives.
Anti-Avoidance – Interest Stripping
Interest paid from a Canadian resident to a non-arm’s length non-resident is generally subject to a 25% flat withholding tax, reduced under various tax treaties (often to either 10% or 15%; generally to nil where paid to U.S. residents). Budget 2022 proposes measures to address certain arrangements (referred to as interest coupon stripping arrangements) to ensure that this withholding tax is not avoided.