Helene Wheeler and Allison Brown
July 12, 2007
Income Tax Act
is a complex piece of legislation that is amended throughout
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.
more detailed overview of how to conduct tax research see David Sherman,
Research: a Practical Guide
4th ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2005), or, Yoko Beriault &
CCH Guide to Researching Canadian Income Tax
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.
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
when releasing the budget for that upcoming year.
Changes to the
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
Amendments to the
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:
ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2006).