Last week I attended the Canadian Tax Foundation’s annual conference in Montreal. It’s a 3-day event where accountants, lawyers and government officials get together, sing Irish drinking songs, try on each others’ bow ties, and get into all sorts of wild shenanigans.
My favourite time is CRA round table day. That’s when representatives from the government let us tax practitioners know that they’re on our side, they’re here to help and taxpayers have rights. Then they answer a series of pre-determined questions on tax policy confirming that they are not on our side, help is a four-letter word, and whatever rights we have are readily accessible – in a court of law. Anyway, we forgive them because they’re usually the ones who spike the punch every year at the Arthur Anderson reception.
This year, the CRA was asked about the new partnership year-end rules and joint ventures. As we reported in an earlier post, new rules were introduced in the 2011 budget that will essentially eliminate any tax deferral to a corporation whose year-end does not coincide with that of any partnership in which it holds a significant interest.
A joint venture is not a partnership; however, they are often accounted for on a similar basis, with a year-end being established and each participant picking up its share of income annually. This has always been tolerated by the CRA.
With the new rules in place, the CRA stated that joint ventures will now be treated similar to partnerships. Administratively, they will also allow companies with joint venture interests to take advantage of the same transitional relief afforded to partnerships under the new rules. That is, they will be allowed to include 15% of additional stub-period income in 2012, 20% in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and 25% in 2016.
In a technical bulletin released on the same day, the CRA also stated that, going forward, for taxation years ending after March 22, 2011, income from a joint venture will have to be reported for each participant based on that participant’s fiscal period. For participants with different year-ends that don’t coincide with the joint venture, this will likely create some onerous compliance issues.
Those guys at the CRA always keep us on our toes!