Accounting, Business, Financial services, Quebec, Quebec Court of Appeal, Rulings, Tax
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Quebec appeal court imposes duty to investigate on business seeking input tax credits

Less than a year after the Federal Court of Appeal held that a supplier’s delinquent fiscal conduct is irrelevant to an input tax credit claim, the Quebec Court of Appeal has muddied the legal waters with a controversial decision that affirmed that Quebec business are expected as part of an effort to impede tax evasion to conduct due diligence on suppliers in order to be able to obtain input tax credits.

In a highly-awaited ruling that startled tax professionals, the appeal court held that business are required to do more than simply confirm the validity of a supplier’s GST/HST registration number and confirm that invoices conform to the current legislation and regulations to qualify for input tax credit (ITC) claims. Business have the added duty to authenticate invoices used to claim ITCs originate from the person that actually performed the service, held the appeal court.

“This is a very important ruling for the business and tax world because in a way it can change the way businesses operate in Quebec,” remarked Alexandre Dufresne, a tax lawyer and managing partner of Spiegel Sohmer in Montreal. “It’s unfortunate but you hear more and more people saying I am going to bring my operations in other jurisdictions because the administrative burden is just too heavy in Quebec. It’s reached that point.”

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