MAYA FORESTALES S.A.,
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN,
[OFFICIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION]
REASONS FOR JUDGMENT
 These are appeals from assessments made on May 5, 2000, under the Income Tax Act (the Act), in respect of the appellant's 1994 to 1998 taxation years.
 The appellant is a corporation incorporated in Costa Rica.
 The assessments are based on the assumption that the appellant was a non-resident person, that it carried on a business in Canada during the years in issue and that it was therefore liable to pay tax on its taxable income earned in Canada by virtue of subsection 2(3), subparagraph 115(1)(a)(ii) and paragraph 253(b) of the Act. The assessments were made under subsection 152(7) of the Act and include a late-filing penalty because the appellant never filed an income tax return in Canada.
 During the years in issue, the appellant offered some Canadians the opportunity to invest in a teak-tree plantation of which it was the registered owner in Costa Rica (Exhibits A-6, I-5, I-6, I-9 and I-10). As a result, more than 80 Canadian investors purchased a lot of land, or part thereof, on the teak-tree plantation that the appellant owned in Costa Rica. They signed a contract with the appellant to develop the lot, or part thereof, by planting and growing trees with a view to cutting them and marketing the timber.
 As an example, in consideration of the sum of $10,000, the appellant offered an investor a lot or part thereof, along with the right to plant 100 teak trees on the lot, for $100, which is 1% of the amount of the investment. In a separate contract, the appellant obtained a mandate to develop the lot and plant trees on it in consideration of $9,900, which is 99% of the amount of the investment. Each purchaser or investor's right was simply registered with the appellant's notary in Costa Rica, a certain Rodolfo Loria.
 In the contracts signed until early 1997 at least, the appellant offered the investor the opportunity to redeem his or her lot at a guaranteed redemption price. At the end of an eight-year period, the investor could exercise an option to transfer his or her lot to the appellant within 180 days. The appellant guaranteed the redemption for an amount equal to 70% of the total purchase price and development fees; in the example chosen, the amount would be $7,000. In order to do this, the appellant placed a part of the amount received from the investor in escrow with Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion, a securities broker in Montréal, so that it could produce the amount required to redeem the lot at the end of the eight-year period.
 If, upon the expiry of the eight-year period, the investor wanted the appellant to cut and sell the timber, the appellant would retain an amount equal to 40% of the net selling price of the timber as a cutting and marketing fee.
 The contracts signed from 1997 onward stated that the appellant was asking the investor for additional forest maintenance and engineering fees of 2% per year, payable in U.S. currency, which were included in the 40% cutting and marketing fee retained by the appellant. The contracts did not indicate the amount used as the basis for computing these additional fees of 2% per year payable in U.S. currency, but it seems likely that the fees were a percentage of the initial investment.
 The development fee of 99% payable on signing the contracts and the additional fees of 2% per year were both held out to be completely deductible in computing the investor's income for income tax purposes.
 All the contracts tendered in evidence were signed by Michel Maheux, who is designated as a mandatary of the appellant. The evidence also shows that two corporations incorporated in Canada, that is, Hexalog Ltd. and Maya Inc., promoted investment in the appellant's teak-tree plantation in Costa Rica.
 To obtain information about the product sold to investors and determine the appellant's tax status, Madeleine Lapointe, a tax avoidance officer with the Department of National Revenue, and Jean-Michel Richard, a technical auditor for non-residents with the same department, began by meeting Pierre Roberge, president of Maya Inc. and representative of the appellant, Maya Forestales S.A.
 The first meeting took place on October 6, 1997, at the head office of Maya Inc., located at 71 St-Alphonse Street West in Thetford Mines, Quebec. At the meeting, Mr. Roberge provided some explanations about his interests in the appellant, its activities in Costa Rica and the role of Maya Inc. in promoting and selling the proposed investment in the appellant's teak-tree plantation in Costa Rica, since Maya Inc. had a written mandate to represent the appellant in Canada (Exhibit A-1, Part 1). At Mr. Roberge's request, Michel Maheux joined the others in the afternoon. He introduced himself as the appellant's signing authority (Exhibit A-1, Part 2). He provided additional explanations regarding the appellant's incorporation, its activities in Costa Rica, the contracts proposed to Canadian investors and the roles of various individuals, including himself and Mr. Roberge, with regard to the appellant's activities.
 The minutes of the meeting, signed by Ms. Lapointe and Mr. Richard, state in particular that all contracts with Canadian investors were signed in Canada and then forwarded to Costa Rica. In his testimony, Mr. Maheux said he actually brought the contracts to Costa Rica to sign them there, a statement that squarely contradicts what is written in the contracts themselves. Mr. Maheux also testified that he completely divested himself of his financial interests in the appellant in or about 1994 and 1995, and this was never mentioned in the meeting of October 6, 1997―on the contrary. In any event, Mr. Maheux introduced himself as the appellant's signing authority. In fact, on November 13, 1995, he personally signed a resolution, as the appellant's [TRANSLATION] "delegated authority", to deposit securities with the broker Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion in order to guarantee the appellant's redemption of the lots acquired by the investors (Exhibits I-7 and I-8). In addition, the "amended" notice of appeal states that Mr. Maheux is the appellant's representative. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, he signed all the contracts tendered in evidence as the appellant's mandatary.
 At the end of this first meeting, Ms. Lapointe drew up a list of accounting records and supporting documents that she felt she would need in order to pursue her audit.
 On December 10, 1997, Ms. Lapointe, along with another tax avoidance officer named Jean-Guy Dupont, met with Pierre Roberge again. On this occasion, Mr. Roberge provided additional information about certain characteristics of the contracts signed between the appellant and the investors and agreed to remit the accounting records of Maya Inc. along with supporting documents. However, it appears that he was not in possession of some of the documents requested at the meeting of October 6, 1997. In addition, Mr. Roberge informed Ms. Lapointe and Mr. Dupont that he could not give them the appellant's accounting records because Rodolfo Loria objected to that. At the meeting, Mr. Roberge also made certain arguments seeking to establish that the proposed investment in the appellant's teak-tree plantation was not a tax shelter because, as early as the meeting on October 6, 1997, the representatives of the Department of National Revenue had expressed the opinion that it was indeed a tax shelter.
 On December 17, 1997, Maya Inc. filed a motion in the Court of Québec (Civil Division) for a declaratory judgment stating that the lots in Costa Rica, purchased by Quebec businesspeople, did not constitute a tax shelter within the meaning of section 1079.1 of Quebec's Taxation Act (Exhibit A-4, Part 1).
 Maya Inc. also filed a motion in the Federal Court of Canada (Trial Division) for a declaration that the lots in Costa Rica, which it promoted and which were purchased by Quebec businesspeople, did not constitute a tax shelter within the meaning of section 237.1 of the Act. On July 29, 1998, Rouleau J. issued an order declining jurisdiction because, in his opinion, the matter was one for the Tax Court of Canada to decide (Exhibit A-3).
 On March 24, 1998, Ms. Lapointe, still not having received the requested documents concerning the appellant, sent a notice to the appellant in Costa Rica and to Michel Maheux, in his capacity as the appellant's signing authority, requiring that they provide the appellant's accounting records and supporting documents pursuant to section 231.6 of the Act (Exhibit I-1). Mr. Maheux filed a motion contesting this requirement in the Quebec Superior Court (Civil Division) on June 19, 1998 (Exhibit A-4, Part 2).
 On March 8, 1999, Allard J. of the Quebec Superior Court rendered judgment on the motion contesting the requirement under section 231.6 of the Act and limited the scope of the requirement to such documents as were necessary to audit the deductions claimed by the Canadian investors, including the contracts and proofs of payment and a document establishing the cost of the services and property sold to Canadian taxpayers (Exhibit A-5).
 On July 7, 1999, Jean-Michel Richard sent to the appellant in Costa Rica, to the appellant, care of Maya Inc., to the attention of Pierre Roberge, and to Michel Maheux a requirement to file an income tax return for the 1994 to 1998 taxation years. This was done after a fact check resulted in a finding that the appellant was a non-resident person that carried on a business in Canada during the years in issue and was therefore subject to tax on the taxable income that it earned in Canada under subsections 2(3) and 115(1) of the Act (Exhibit A-8).
 On August 30, 1999, Mr. Maheux apparently sent a fax to Mr. Richard in response to this requirement. The fax was not tendered in evidence. However, Mr. Richard replied to it in a letter dated September 30, 1999, setting out the facts on which he based his conclusion that the appellant had carried on a business in Canada. In the letter, Mr. Richard referred expressly to the statutory presumption in paragraph 253(b) of the Act.
 During his testimony, Jean-Michel Richard spoke of an additional audit in August 1999 conducted at Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion. The audit made it possible to obtain certain documents signed by Michel Maheux on behalf of the appellant, including the aforementioned resolution that he signed on November 13, 1995, as a [TRANSLATION] "delegated authority." (Exhibits I-6, I-7 and I-8).
 Ms. Lapointe referred to other elements, which were discovered during her audit and which indicated that the appellant carried on economic activity in Canada, in particular, the fact that the appellant was listed in the telephone directory and had an address and telephone number in Canada matching those of Maya Inc. (Exhibits I-2 and I-3).
 Ms. Lapointe and Mr. Richard's testimony clearly show that the authorities managed to obtain some of the information and documents requested. However, it is just as clear that, following the various challenges, judgments, meetings and discussions, several documents that were considered essential, including the appellant's tax returns, were never produced.
 Jean-Michel Richard authorized the assessments in respect of the appellant for the years in issue (Exhibit I-4) on the basis of the calculations of Ms. Lapointe of the appellant's sales in Canada. Those calculations were based on the information obtained regarding Maya Inc.'s bank deposits, the information obtained from the investors themselves, and the information supplied by the ministère du Revenu du Québec.
 In late December 1999, the appellant's income tax returns still not received, Jean-Michel Richard recommended that the assessments be made.
 The appellant still not having produced the returns required, the assessments were finally made on May 5, 2000 (Exhibits I-11 to I-16). The assessments were based on the appellant's gross sales because the appellant, having never filed a return, had obviously never claimed any deductions.
 However, at the hearing, the respondent acknowledged that the appellant had paid commissions equal to 12.5% of the total sales figure to various companies and individuals and was therefore entitled to deduct an amount equal to those commissions in computing its income for the years in issue.
 Counsel for the appellant submitted that the assessments must be vacated. The first ground for this submission was that the appellant's activities are devoid of Canadian character because the contracts between the appellant and each investor pertain, first, to the sale of property located in Costa Rica, and, second, to a mandate for services performed entirely in Costa Rica. This would mean that the appellant had no taxable income earned in Canada. Should the Court determine that the appellant is subject to income tax in Canada, counsel for the appellant submitted that its gross income earned in Canada should equal the commissions paid. Therefore, its income earned in Canada would equal zero.
 Counsel for the appellant also submitted that the assessments of the appellant constitute double taxation because the persons who received the commissions were already taxed on those amounts.
 Lastly, in the "amended" notice of appeal, counsel for the appellant also argued that the limitation period had elapsed for the 1994, 1995 and 1996 taxation years, that the assessments were not made within a reasonable time and that it was therefore for the respondent to show that the assessments for the 1994 and 1995 taxation years were correct since the appellant [TRANSLATION] "had not been careless." I must admit that I have some trouble understanding these submissions regarding the limitation period and the reversal of the burden of proof. In any event, I will deal with these submissions after addressing the fundamental question, that is, whether the appellant was subject to income tax in Canada, and, if so, with respect to what amount.
 Paragraph 2(3)(b) of the Act states that if a non-resident person carried on a business in Canada at any time during a taxation year, it is subject, for that year, to Canadian income tax. The tax is payable on its taxable income earned in Canada, determined in accordance with Division D of Part I of the Act. Subparagraph 115(1)(a)(ii) of Division D establishes that the taxable income earned in Canada is the amount that would be determined under section 3 if the non-resident person had no income other than incomes from a business carried on by the non-resident person in Canada. In addition, where a business is carried on partly in Canada and partly outside Canada, paragraph 4(1)(b) requires a reasonable allocation of the income, since only the taxable income earned in Canada must be determined under subparagraph 115(1)(a)(ii) of the Act.
 It should also be noted that paragraph 253(b) of the Act establishes the following irrebuttable presumption:
SECTION 253: Extended meaning of "carrying on business".
For the purposes of this Act, where in a taxation year a person who is a non-resident person or a trust to which Part XII.2 applies
(a) . . .
(b) solicits orders or offers anything for sale in Canada through an agent or servant, whether the contract or transaction is to be completed inside or outside Canada or partly in and partly outside Canada, or
(c) . . .
the person shall be deemed, in respect of the activity or disposition, to have been carrying on business in Canadain the year.
 A few general comments should be made about this provision. First of all, it is quite clear that Parliament's intent in creating the presumption was to subject non-resident persons to Canadian tax provided they carry out a minimum amount of commercial activity within Canada's borders. It is equally clear that there can be international elements or aspects to these transactions. It should also be noted that it is not important that a commercial transaction be legally completed on Canadian soil. Moroever, the object of the solicitation, order or offer for sale need not have any connection with Canadian territory. Indeed, the words "in Canada" apply to the activity of soliciting, ordering or offering anything for sale, not the object of that activity, since the presumption establishes that the activities themselves are what constitute carrying on a business. As for the word "orders", or "commandes" in the French version, standard dictionaries define the word, in its commercial sense, as requests for goods or services. It should also be recognized that the word "anything", and its French equivalent "quoi que ce soit", contain no restriction on the object of an offer for sale; it can be tangible or intangible, moveable or immoveable.
 The phrase "quoi que ce soit" is defined in Le Grand Robert de la langue française, 2d ed., 1985, vol. VII, at p. 974, as a "locution exprimant l'indétermination au plus haut degré" (a phrase denoting the greatest degree of indeterminacy.) Moreover, the Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, vol. 1, defines "anything" at pp. 539-40 as "1. ... A combination of ANY and THING, in the widest sense of the latter, with all the varieties of sense belonging to ANY. ... 2. ... Thing of any kind."
 Clearly, the purpose of section 253 is to extend Canada's tax jurisdiction to non-resident persons based on certain activities that they carry out within Canada's borders. In this context, the choice in paragraph 253(b) of terms as broad and vague as "anything" in English, and "quoi que ce soit" in French, certainly does not indicate that Parliament intended to limit the object of the activities in question-quite the contrary. In light of this, I do not see what principle would enable me to limit the scope of the provision.
 In the case at bar, there is no doubt that the appellant, through a mandatary, offered for sale, in Canada, lots or parts thereof on its plantation in Costa Rica; that it solicited orders for services in connection therewith; and that all of this was reflected in a sale, and then in a contract of mandate to develop the lot sold and in another contract of mandate under which the trees would be cut and the timber would be marketed at a later time. While each of these aspects was the subject of a separate contract, it is clear―and this is consistent with the advertising brochure (Exhibit I-5)―that the purpose of this indivisible whole―this "package deal"―was to sell a timber harvesting business to investors; the appellant was given a mandate to carry out all the requisite tasks for the investors, while promising them generous tax deductions, not to mention the guaranteed lot redemption available to them, at least until early 1997. That was the specific type of investment―an investment that included property and services―that the appellant was actually offering investors in Canada, and it was that type of investment for which each investor paid an overall amount upon signing the contract (see Exhbit I-4, details of sales). It is also important to note that the payment of the commissions was based on the investor's acceptance of this package proposal or offer, which included the sale of land (1%) and the advance payment of the development costs (99%); these commissions, totalling 12.5%, were paid to various individuals or corporations acting as mandataries of the appellant.
 In my opinion, paragraph 253(b) of the Act applies to these package offers that the appellant made to Canadian investors―offers that, once accepted, resulted in the aforementioned contracts, which were moreover signed in Canada (though this fact is not really important) by each investor and by Michel Maheux in his capacity as the appellant's mandatary.
 It is known that the assessments were based on the appellant's gross sales in Canada, and the respondent acknowledged at the hearing that the commissions paid, equal to 12.5% of those sales, must be allowed as a deduction in computing the appellant's taxable income earned in Canada within the meaning of subparagraph 115(1)(a)(ii) of the Act.
 In his arguments against the assessments, counsel for the appellant referred to Interpretation Bulletin IT-420R3 - Non-Residents - Income Earned in Canada, dated March 30, 1992. At paragraph 10, the bulletin addresses in particular the reasonable allocation of income and expenses that must be made when a non-resident carries on a business both inside and outside Canada, so that its taxable income earned in Canada can be determined for the purposes of subparagraph 115(1)(a)(ii) of the Act.
 Counsel for the appellant also referred to Interpretation Bulletin IT-270R2 - Foreign Tax Credit, dated February 11, 1991. More specifically, paragraph 26 of the bulletin deals with the determination of the territorial source of income. It states that the determination of the place where a business or part thereof is carried on necessarily requires a consideration of all relevant facts but has been stated in general terms to be the place where the operations in substance take place. The bulletin then sets out the guidelines that the Department usually relies on in determining where a particular type of business is carried on. If the business involves the development and sale of real property, what is considered is the place where the property is situated and, if the business is a service business, the place where the services are performed.
 My first comment is that these statements, which are based on generally accepted common law rules, must be understood in light of the context in which they were made and cannot under any circumstances take precedence over a statutory provision that contains an irrebuttable presumption where the conditions necessary for the provision to apply have been noted.
 In fact, paragraph 253(b) also sets aside another common law rule, which places importance on the place where contracts are formed (see Grainger and Son v. Gough (Surveyor of Taxes) (1896), 3 T.C. 462 (H.L.)). Indeed, it specifies that the presumption applies to the activities in question "whether the contract or transaction is to be completed inside or outside Canada or partly in and partly outside Canada...".
 As stated earlier, it seems to me that paragraph 253(b) clearly applies to the appellant's activities in Canada. This is not however a negation of its commercial activities abroad, particularly in Costa Rica, where it likely draws another portion of its income. This raises the issue of the reasonable allocation of revenue and possible deductions for the purpose of determining its taxable income earned in Canada under subparagraph 115(1)(a)(ii) of the Act. The appellant has consistently refused to file income tax returns in Canada for the years in issue, and the assessments were made merely on the basis of its gross sales, moreover using information obtained from third parties. Subject to the respondent's admission that 12.5 % of the total sales was paid out as commissions and that the appellant can use this as a deduction, the appellant provided no evidence of any kind whatsoever to establish in a different way the taxable income earned in Canada through activities included in the presumption in paragraph 253(b) of the Act. There is no way for the tax authorities to reasonably allocate the income when the taxpayer itself refuses to provide the necessary information, and there is no way for those authorities to grant deductions that the taxpayer never claimed because it refused to file the tax returns required.
 While counsel for the appellant criticized the authorities for providing no breakdown of the appellant's revenues and expenses, there is no escaping the fact that the appellant did not propose any and did not provide any evidence whatsoever on that point. It is perhaps helpful to simply reiterate the principle that the taxpayer has the initial onus of demolishing the assumptions on which the Minister relies to make his assessment; see, inter alia, Johnston v. M.N.R.,  S.C.R. 486,  C.T.C. 195, 3 DTC 1182 and Hickman Motors Ltd. v. Canada,  2 S.C.R. 336, at paras. 91-98. The assertion by counsel for the appellant that its income earned in Canada is simply equal to the commissions paid (assuming it is subject to tax in Canada) and is therefore equal to zero remains a mere assertion and proves nothing at all.
 This brings me to issues raised by counsel for the appellant and briefly referred to earlier: the limitation periods in respect of the years 1994, 1995 and 1996, and the reversal of the burden of proof regarding the years 1994 and 1995.
 First of all, the assessments for all the years in issue are original assessments made under subsection 152(7) of the Act, the appellant having filed no returns for those years. The Act establishes no limitation period for making an original assessment. It can therefore be made at any time, unlike a reassessment or an additional reassessment, which generally cannot be made after the normal reassessment period defined in subsection 152(3.1) of the Act has elapsed, except under the circumstances set out in subsection 152(4) of the Act. Moreover, it is only in respect of a reassessment made after the normal reassessment period that the Minister has the initial burden of establishing the facts that enable him to make an assessment after that period.
 The remaining issue regards the making of the assessments with dispatch. The facts referred to above show that, from the very first meeting of October 6, 1997, with Pierre Roberge and subsequently with Michel Maheux, the tax authorities had problems obtaining the documents they requested in order to be able to check the appellant's and investors' situation. I went over the various requests made by the authorities and the challenges by Maya Inc. and Michel Maheux before the Court of Québec, the Quebec Superior Court and the Federal Court (Trial Division). Moreover, as I have stated several times, the appellant did not file any income tax return for the years in issue, even after formally being required to do so. All the challenges gave rise to delays for which the tax authorities cannot be held responsible. They were trying to obtain all the documents needed to do a complete audit of the appellant's activities in connection with soliciting Canadians to invest in its teak-tree plantation in Costa Rica. It was only in late December 1999, when all the recourses were exhausted and the last deadline given to the appellant to file its tax returns was approaching, that Jean-Michel Richard finally recommended that the assessments be made. Since the appellant itself had, until then, still failed to file any of its returns, it is wholly inappropriate for it to invoke the authorities' lack of dispatch. It is true that the assessments were made only on May 5, 2000, and that the time that elapsed between Jean-Michel Richard's recommendation and the date of the assessments has not been explained. Even if one assumes that this delay can be blamed on the authorities, it is clearly established that failure to act with dispatch is not a basis for vacating an assessment (see, inter alia, The Queen v. Ginsberg,  3 C.T.C. 63, 96 DTC 6372 (F.C.A.),  F.C.J. No. 777 (QL); Carter v. The Queen,  4 C.T.C. 79, 2001 DTC 5560 (F.C.A.),  F.C.J. No. 1435 (QL); and Lassonde v. The Queen, 2003 DTC 1289 (T.C.C.),  T.C.J. No. 560 (QL). This is especially true where, the assessments were made not under subsection 152(1) after examining filed returns, but rather under subsection 152(7) of the Act in the absence of a tax return for each of the years in issue.
 In light of the foregoing, the appeals from the assessments made in respect of the appellant's 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 taxation years are allowed, and the assessments are referred back to the Minister for reconsideration and reassessment on the basis that the appellant is entitled to deduct the commissions, equal to 12.5% of the sales in Canada, for the purposes of computing its taxable income earned in Canada for each of the years in issue.
 With costs to the respondent.
Signed at Ottawa, Canada, this 19th day of January 2005.
Translation certified true
on this 22nd day of March 2005
Sophie Debbané, Revisor