Principales Questions: In a situation where a housing unit is subject to a usufruct created by the will (governed by the laws of the province of Quebec) of a deceased taxpayer, the deceased’s surviving spouse is the usufructuary, the deceased’s child is the bare-owner and the surviving spouse ordinarily inhabits the housing unit while it is subject to the usufruct: (1) Whether the principal residence exemption could be claimed by the deemed trust established by virtue of subsection 248(3) (“deemed trust”) with respect to the capital gain realized as a result of the death of the surviving spouse (the usufructuary) or as a result of the sale of the housing unit, as the case may be? (2) Whether the condition set out in subparagraph 70(6)(b)(ii) could be met despite the fact that a term is provided to the usufruct under the terms of the will? (3) What would be the tax consequences resulting from the surrender, by the usufructuary, of his/her right in the usufruct? (4) What would be the tax consequences resulting from the death of the bare owner or from the assignment of his/her rights in favour of the usufructuary?
Position Adoptée: (1) Yes, subject to the other conditions of the definition of “principal residence” in section 54. (2) No. (3) General comments. (4) General comments.
Raisons: (1) The death of the usufructuary would cause the end of the usufruct and the termination of the deemed trust, which would imply the distribution of the housing unit to the bare owner. Upon the termination of the deemed trust, since the distribution of the property by the deemed trust, a trust referred to in subparagraph 104(4)(a)(i), would be made to a beneficiary other than the surviving spouse, subsection 107(4) would apply, such that subsection 107(2.1) would apply to the distribution of the property, which could result in a capital gain at the deemed trust’s level. Likewise, the sale of the residence could create a capital gain at the deemed trust’s level . The deemed trust, a personal trust, could claim the principal residence exemption under paragraph 40(2)(b), provided that the conditions for the property to qualify as a “principal residence” as defined in section 54 are all met. (2) In the situation where the will provides a term to the usufruct, this would result in a person other than the surviving spouse having the possibility to receive or obtain the use of any part of the income or capital of the trust in the spouse’s lifetime. As a result, the condition set out in subparagraph 70(6)(b)(ii) would not be met. (3) No proceeds of disposition would be deemed received for the purposes of subsection 106(2) when the usufructuary validly surrenders, without consideration and without directing in any manner who is entitled to benefit therefrom, his/her income interest in the deemed trust. The surrender would cause the termination of the deemed trust and the distribution of the property to the bare owner. Subsections 107(2.1) and (4) would apply to this distribution and it could be possible for the personal trust to claim the principal residence exemption under paragraph 40(2)(b), provided that the conditions for the property to qualify a “principal residence” as defined in section 54 are all met. (4) By effect of subsection 70(5) or paragraph 69(1)(b), as the case may be, the bare owner would be deemed to have received a consideration equal to the FMV of his/her capital interest in the deemed trust as a result of the deemed disposition at death or of the assignment of his/her right in favour of the usufructuary, as the case may be. Moreover, in the case of the assignment to the usufructurary, the assignment would cause the termination of the deemed trust such that the housing unit would be distributed to the usufructuary. This distribution would be subject to subsection 107(2).