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4-Tax Research Memo 11.16.2005_1

4-Tax Research Memo 11.16.2005_1 - Tax Research Memo Helene...

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Tax Research Memo Helene Wheeler and Allison Brown 1 July 12, 2007 The Income Tax Act ( ITA ) is a complex piece of legislation that is amended throughout the year. When conducting tax research, textbooks are a good starting point as they may point you to the relevant section of the ITA. However, thorough research will involve referring to one or more of the sources below. This memorandum provides an overview of some of the basic sources you should consider when conducting tax research. For a more detailed overview of how to conduct tax research see David Sherman, Income Tax Research: a Practical Guide 4th ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2005), or, Yoko Beriault & Carol Mohammed, CCH Guide to Researching Canadian Income Tax (Toronto: CCH Canadian Limited, 2005). In the latter publication, Chapter XIV and Appendix III, entitled “Tax Research FAQs” and “Tax Resources on the Web” respectively, may be particularly useful for students. I. Legislation A. How a bill is passed Throughout the year, the Policy Branch of the Department of finance drafts legislation to amend the ITA. These changes may be announced in draft technical amendments to the ITA, Finance news releases or the annual budget papers. Every year, (usually in late February or early March), the Minister of Finance proposes changes to the Income Tax Act when releasing the budget for that upcoming year. Changes to the ITA are therefore generally effective as of the date of the budget, even though it may take months for the enabling legislation to be passed as a bill through the House of Commons and the Senate. Recent budgets and proposed amendments are available on the Minister of Finance’s website: http://www.fin.gc.ca . Amendments to the ITA begin in the House of Commons as a bill. The bill will receive a “first reading” and a “second reading” where representatives have a chance to debate the merits of the bill. The bill is then referred to a special Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs and the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce who examine the bill clause by clause and recommend technical changes, if any, before referring it to the House of Commons for a “third reading”. After it receives three readings in the House of Commons, the bill is passed on to the Senate, where it receives first, second and third readings (usually as a matter of course). The parliamentary website allows access to reports, Hansard debates, and the progress of a bill: http://www.parl.gc.ca/ . These materials are useful to determine the ever-elusive “legislative intent” behind a provision. For more comprehensive information concerning the legislative process of ITA amendments, students may wish to consult Department of Finance Technical Notes: Income Tax , 18 th ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2006).
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