Successful businesses have no borders, and many rely on the import and export of goods and cross-border delivery of services to remain competitive in a global marketplace. Sales and commodity taxes generate substantial revenue for the Canadian government but can have a significant effect on business profitability. Recognizing the potential impact, Blakes was one of the first full-service law firms to have a group of lawyers with specialized expertise. Our Sales & Commodity Tax lawyers are recognized among Canada’s leaders in sales and commodity taxes.
With a diversified client base and national exposure, we provide effective advice to clients with unique sales and commodity tax concerns. Manufacturers, retailers, distributors, importers, exporters, financial institutions, service providers and others engage us to review contracts and arrangements and to provide compliance and planning expertise, particularly in the complex areas of financial services, electronic commerce, natural resources, cross-border transactions and related-party transfers. Our team members are also frequently hired as special counsel by other law firms in commodity-tax-driven transactions.
Our indirect tax lawyers regularly advise on the federal goods and services tax (GST) and harmonized sales tax (HST) to ensure that our clients’ business proposals, such as non-residents expanding their business to Canada, corporate reorganizations, acquisitions and importations, and real property development, are properly structured from a GST/HST perspective and that implications of these taxes are considered in sales of business assets. Our lawyers also assist clients with GST/HST ruling requests, voluntary disclosures, tax audits, objections and appeals.
Certain excise taxes and special levies are imposed at both the federal and provincial levels of government across Canada. In addition to our extensive GST/HST expertise, our Sales & Commidity Tax lawyers regularly advise on more specialized tax regimes, such as insurance premium tax under the Excise Tax Act and various provincial statutes. We have expertise in advising clients on the application of the various provincial sales and commodity tax regimes, ranging from commodity-specific taxes on tobacco, and fuel and gasoline, to federal-level commodity taxes including excise duties imposed on the manufacture of certain types of alcohol and tobacco.