CRA treats a Swiss collective investment vehicle as a flow-through for purposes of the pension/ retirement fund dividend exemption in the Canada-Swiss treaty

A collective investment scheme (the “Fund”) established under Swiss law is an arrangement by which investors pool their assets to be managed by and in the name of a Swiss regulated fund management company (the “Management Company’) for the account of the investors, whose proportionate entitlements to income and to cash or in-kind redemption proceeds are represented by non-voting units. The Fund was established by a contract of the investors with the Manager and the non-resident custodian of the Fund assets (the “Custodian”), and lacks legal personality. The Custodian delegated the custody of Canadian securities (being mostly listed shares of Canadian companies) to the “Canadian Sub-Custodian.” The Fund unitholders are all Swiss entities providing pension or retirement plans.

CRA effectively ruled that this arrangement would be treated like a co-ownership arrangement rather than like an entity such as a trust, so that dividends paid on the Canadian shares would benefit from the Canadian withholding tax exemption in Art. 10 of the Canada-Swiss Treaty for Canadian dividends received by Swiss pension/ retirement entities.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of 2024 Ruling 2019-0817961R3 under Treaties – Income Tax Conventions – Art. 10.