Kerry (Canada) – Federal Court finds that a request to hold notices of objection in abeyance pending Canadian competent authority review amounted to implied waivers

A Canadian company (Kerry Canada) was reassessed under s. 247 to increase its income from product sales to a US affiliate and disallow deductions for royalties paid to an Irish affiliate. Kerry Canada objected to these reassessments, but requested that its objections be held in abeyance pending a decision by the Canadian competent authority (CCA) of these transfer-pricing issues. In its ensuing application to the CCA, Kerry Canada reiterated that it had requested such abeyance.

After the CCA agreed with Kerry Canada on the product transfer pricing issue, CRA issued second reassessments to give effect to that adjustment. Kerry Canada did not object to the second reassessments. Subsequently, the CCA also agreed with Kerry Canada on the deductibility of the royalties, but CRA refused to implement this favourable decision because the taxation years in question were now statute-barred.

Walker J found that Kerry Canada’s request to keep the objections in abeyance until a CCA decision on the two issues amounted to an implied waiver for those years, so that CRA was still permitted under s. 152(4)(c)) to reassess those years by virtue of having received the waivers. Kerry Canada had made the mistake of not objecting to the second reassessments. However, this was essentially irrelevant to the point that the implied waivers nonetheless had been given (albeit, in connection with objecting to reassessments that were replaced by, and, therefore, voided by, the second reassessments.)

Since CRA had not addressed this point, the matter was referred back to CRA for reconsideration of the request of Kerry Canada to reassess it to implement the favourable CCA decision.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of Kerry (Canada) Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 FC 377 under s. 152(4)(c).