Neutral citation: 2001 FCA 216
CORAM: LINDEN J.A.
JOHN ANTHONY DIXON
- and -
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
REASONS FOR JUDGMENT
(Delivered from the Bench at Calgary, Alberta
on Friday, June 22, 2001)
Despite the interesting and excellent argument by Mr. Dixon, we regret that we are unable to see a basis for interference with the Tax Court's decision.
Mr. Dixon, who returned to live in Canada in May 1994, after having lived and worked in Texas for several years, claimed his moving expenses under section 62(1) of the Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985 (5th Supp.) c. 1 as amended, (see Appendix), but was denied them.
Mr. Dixon argued that the interpretation of the Income Tax Act that led to this result was absurd. He contended that section 250 (see Appendix), made into residents those who did not want to be residents when they sojourned here for 183 days, but those who did want to be residents and stayed here 183 days were denied that status. This, he says, is absurd.
Counsel for the Crown counters that this is not at all absurd, although he allows that it might be Draconian. People like Mr. Dixon are merely denied resident status for the purpose of claiming the moving expenses under section 62(1), but not necessarily for other purposes. The result of the legislative provisions may work a hardship on Mr. Dixon and others like him, but that does not make it absurd. There is simply no provision allowing the deduction he claims in the factual circumstances in which he finds himself. It may be that taxpayers in Mr. Dixon's situation, returning to live in Canada from abroad, should be able to deduct their moving expenses, but that is a matter for Parliament, not this Court.
In our view, the Tax Court Judge correctly held that Mr. Dixon had not sojourned in Canada for 183 days so as to obtain the advantage of section 250, but that he became resident here upon his return.
The Supreme Court of Canada, many years ago, defined the word sojourn in the case of Thomson v. Minister of National Revenue (1946) 2 DTC 812 at 813 as follows:
A reference to the dictionary and judicial comments upon the meaning of these terms indicates that one is "ordinarily resident" in the place where in the settled routine of his life he regularly, normally or customarily lives. One "sojourns" at a place where he usually, casually, or intermittently visits or stays. In the former the element of permanence; in the latter that of the temporary predominates. The difference cannot be stated in precise and definite terms, but each case must be determined after all of the relevant factors are taken into consideration, but the foregoing indicates in a general way the essential difference. It is not the length of the visit or stay that determines the question.
While this statement may well be an obiter dictum, this definition of sojourn has withstood the test of time.
In their book Principles of Canadian Income Tax Law, 2nd ed. (Scarborough, Ont.: Carswell, 1997) at 120, Professors Hogg & Magee explain the word sojourn as follows:
The term "sojourn" means something less than residence. A sojourner is a person who is physically present in Canada, but on a more transient basis than a resident. A sojourner lacks the settled home in Canada which would make him or her a resident. A person who is a resident of another country and who comes to Canada on a vacation or business trip would be an example of a sojourner. In most cases, of course, a sojourner would stay in Canada for only a short period of time, but if the sojourner stays for a period of 183 days, or for several periods totalling 183 days, then the effect of s. 250(1)(a) is to tax the sojourner as if he or she were a resident for the whole year. The rationale is no doubt that a person spending so much time in Canada has a stake in the in the country which is not markedly different from that of a resident, and which entails a contribution to the financing of the government. There is also the administrative convenience that s. 250(1)(a) will eliminate some of the argumentation over whether a person is a resident or not.
Unhappily for Mr. Dixon, he did not sojourn in Canada upon his return, but began to reside here, taking himself out of the deeming provision, section 250.
It should also be noted that section 64.1 (see Appendix), does not help Mr. Dixon because it is aimed at people who were resident in Canada but were absent from Canada during that time such as military, ambassadors or students. During the time Mr. Dixon was resident here he was not absent from Canada. During the time he was absent from Canada, he was not resident here.
The application will, therefore, be dismissed.
62. (1) Moving expenses -- There may be deducted in computing a taxpayer's income for a taxation year amounts paid by the taxpayer as or on account of moving expenses incurred in respect of an eligible relocation, to the extent that
(a) they were not paid on the taxpayer's behalf in respect of, in the course of or because of, the taxpayer's office or employment;
(b) they were not deductible because of this section in computing the taxpayer's income for the preceding taxation year;
62. (1) Frais de déménagement -- * *Un contribuable peut déduire dans le calcul de son revenu pour une année d'imposition les sommes qu'il a payées au titre des frais de déménagement engagés relativement à une réinstallation admissible dans la mesure où, à la fois_:
a) elles n'ont pas été payées en son nom relativement à sa charge ou à son emploi ou dans le cadre ou en raison de sa charge ou de son emploi;
b) elles n'étaient pas déductibles par l'effet du présent article dans le calcul de son revenu pour l'année d'imposition précédente;
64.1 Individuals absent from Canada -- In applying sections 63 and 64 in respect of a taxpayer who is, throughout all or part of a taxation year, absent from but resident in Canada, the following rules apply for the year or that part of the year, as the case may be:
(a) the definition "child care expense" in subsection 63(3), and section 64, shall be read without reference to the words "in Canada"; ...
64.1 Particulier absent du Canada -- *Pour l'application des articles 63 et 64 au contribuable qui, tout au long d'une année d'imposition ou d'une partie d'année d'imposition, est absent du Canada mais y réside, les règles suivantes s'appliquent à l'année ou à la partie d'année, selon le cas_:
a) *il n'est pas tenu compte des mots « _au Canada_ » dans la définition de « _frais de garde d'enfants_ » au paragraphe 63(3), et à l'article 64; ...
250. (1) Person deemed resident -- For the purposes of this Act, a person shall, subject to subsection (2), be deemed to have been resident in Canada throughout a taxation year if the person
(a) sojourned in Canada in the year for a period of, or periods the total of which is, 183 days or more;
(f) was at any time in the year a child of, and dependent for support on, an individual to whom paragraph (b), (c), (d) or (d.1) applies and the person's income for the year did not exceed the amount used under paragraph (c) of the description of B in subsection 118(1) for the year;
(g) was at any time in the year, under an agreement or a convention with one or more other countries that has the force of law in Canada, entitled to an exemption from an income tax otherwise payable in any of those countries in respect of income from any source (unless all or substantially all of the person's income from all sources was not so exempt), because at that time the person was related to or a member of the family of an individual (other than a trust) who was resident in Canada.
250. (1) Personne réputée résider au Canada -- Pour l'application de la présente loi, une personne est réputée, sous réserve du paragraphe (2), avoir résidé au Canada tout au long d'une année d'imposition si_:
a) elle a séjourné au Canada au cours de l'année pendant une période ou des périodes dont l'ensemble est de 183 jours ou plus;
f) *elle était, au cours de l'année, l'enfant d'un particulier auquel s'appliquent les alinéas b), c), d) ou d.1), et financièrement à la charge de celui-ci, et son revenu pour l'année n'a pas dépassé le montant applicable pour l'année selon l'alinéa 118(1)c);
g) *elle avait droit à un moment de l'année, aux termes d'un accord ou d'une convention conclu avec un ou plusieurs pays étrangers et ayant force de loi au Canada, à une exemption de l'impôt sur le revenu payable par ailleurs dans l'un de ces pays au titre du revenu provenant d'une source quelconque (sauf si la totalité ou la presque totalité de son revenu de toutes sources n'était pas ainsi exemptée), du fait qu'à ce moment elle était liée à un particulier (sauf une fiducie) résidant au Canada ou était membre de sa famille.