2017-0693341C6 2017 STEP – Q13 – TFSA Audit Project

Please note that the following document, although believed to be correct at the time of issue, may not represent the current position of the CRA. Prenez note que ce document, bien qu'exact au moment émis, peut ne pas représenter la position actuelle de l'ARC.

Principal Issues: Status of TFSA audit project

Position: Provided update and referred to S3-F10-C1 for guidance on whether securities trading in a TFSA constitutes carrying on a business.

Author: Wurtele, Dave

Section: 146.2(6)

STEP CRA Roundtable – June 13, 2017

Question 13:  TFSA audit project

Subsection 146.2(6) of the Income Tax Act provides that if a TFSA “carries on one or more businesses” then Part I tax is payable on its business income. We are aware that this has been a focus for CRA audit and reassessment activities targeting taxpayers who actively traded securities in their TFSA.  Can the CRA provide an update on the result and its future intention on its activities in respect of this area? Also, does the CRA have any plans to educate the public on what the acceptable limits are on securities trading to prevent a TFSA account from being considered to be carrying on a business?

CRA Response:

The CRA is committed to maintaining a compliance presence on high risk TFSA transactions to ensure that the provisions of the Income Tax Act are respected.  To date, the CRA has reassessed more than $75 million in additional taxes resulting from audits of TFSAs.

In 2016, the CRA released Income Tax Folio S3-F10-C1 Qualified Investments – RRSPs, RESPs, RRIFs, RDSPs and TFSAs, which provides information on the tax consequences of a registered plan carrying on a securities trading business. In the Folio it is explained that the determination of whether a particular taxpayer carries on a business is a question of fact that can only be determined following a review of the taxpayer’s particular circumstances. Interpretation Bulletin IT-479R, Transactions in Securities sets out factors developed by the courts that are relevant in determining whether transactions in securities constitute carrying on a business. There is nothing unique to TFSAs when determining whether transactions in securities constitute carrying on a business.


Prepared by:

Pamela MacInnis
Offshore and Aggressive Tax Planning Directorate

Dave Wurtele
Income Tax Rulings Directorate

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