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The Supreme Court's 2012 Tax Cases: Formalism Trumps Pragmatism and Good Sense

Supreme Court Law Review (2014) 64 SCLR (2d) 267-325.

60 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2014  

William Neil Brooks

York University

Kim Brooks

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law

Date Written: December 3, 2013

Abstract

The Supreme Court of Canada released decisions in four cases in the 2012 year. We argue that each illustrates the Court's formalistic approach to interpreting tax legislation. Each of the following four cases is evaluated in turn. Canada v Craig relates to the circumstances under which a taxpayer can offset losses incurred in a farming business against income earned from a completely different source. Fundy Settlement v Canada required determining the residency of a trust for tax purposes. Canada v GlaxoSmithKline Inc. focused on the circumstances to be taken into account in determining an arm's-length price in the transfer pricing context. Finally, Calgary (City) v Canada, a goods and services tax issue, looked at whether a particular supply of good and services constituted a single supply or multiple supplies and whether a grant or subsidy was given for a public purpose or was consideration for a supply.

Keywords: tax policy; taxation; income tax; VAT; Supreme Court of Canada

Suggested Citation

Brooks, William Neil and Brooks, Kim, The Supreme Court's 2012 Tax Cases: Formalism Trumps Pragmatism and Good Sense (December 3, 2013). Supreme Court Law Review (2014) 64 SCLR (2d) 267-325.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2406578

William Neil Brooks

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Kimberley Brooks (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Ave
Weldon Law Building
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H4H9
Canada

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