Words and Phrases - "fixture"
New aluminum shingles with an electric cable (the “Equipment”) will be attached over existing asphalt shingles on the portion of a roof immediately beneath existing solar panels (which satisfy the conditions of s. (d)(vi) of Class 43.1)), so as to melt snow accumulations, which otherwise would hinder the functioning of the solar panels.. Would the cost of the Equipment be eligible for inclusion in Class 43.2?
After noting other more general requirements for the claiming of capital cost allowance, CRA stated:
Generally, if something is “related to” a particular subject it concerns that subject. … Thus, if the Equipment is necessary for the proper functioning of the existing photovoltaic equipment, it would likely be considered to be “related equipment”… .
…The test [of whether the Equipment is a fixture] asks whether an article is attached to another property to effect a permanent and substantial improvement of that other property or to enable more complete enjoyment and use of the first article. … In a situation where there is a dual or multiple purposes, the courts have considered what the dominant purpose of the annexation is [citing Hansen, 1998 ABQB 1103].
Here, the intention to install the Equipment is to resolve a problem caused by the deficient operation of the solar panels. Thus, the fact that the Equipment is necessary for the proper operation of the photovoltaic equipment during the winter period and that its main function is to support the solar panels (with any benefits to the building being negligible), may support the inclusion of its capital cost to Class 43.2… .
Stack v. T. Eaton Co.,  O.J. No. 155 (Div. Ct.)
After reviewing the then-leading decisions (including Bain v. Brand (1876), 1 App. Cas. 762, Holland v. Hodgson (1872), L.R. 7 C.P. 328, Hobson v. Gorringe,  1 Ch. 182, and Haggert v. Town of Brampton,  S.C.J. No. 73, Meredith CJ synthesized the governing principles and articulated the following five rules respecting when property was a fixture, which he characterized as "settled law":
(1) That articles not otherwise attached to the land than by their own weight are not to be considered as part of the land, unless the circumstances are such as shew that they were intended to be part of the land.
(2) That articles affixed to the land even slightly are to be considered part of the land unless the circumstances are such as to shew that they were intended to continue chattels.
(3) That the circumstances necessary to be shewn to alter the primâ facie character of the articles are circumstances which shew the degree of annexation and object of such annexation, which are patent to all to see.
(4) That the intention of the person affixing the article to the soil is material only so far as it can be presumed from the degree and object of the annexation.
(5) That, even in the case of tenants' fixtures put in for the purposes of trade, they form part of the freehold, with the right, however, to the tenant, as between him and his landlord, to bring them back to the state of chattels again by severing them from the soil, and that they pass by a conveyance of the land as part of it, subject to this right of the tenant.
Ontario Hydro v. Ontario (Ministry of Revenue),  O.J. No. 333, 60 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1080, aff’d on other grounds  O.J. No. 1723, 44 O.R. (3d) 1, 120 O.A.C. 184, 88 A.C.W.S. (3d) 507
Borins J found that microwave telecommunications and power line carrier equipment which for the most part was attached by screws to metal racks which, in turn, were bolted to the floor in the Pickering nuclear facility of the taxpayer, were not fixtures, and instead were tangible personal property subject to Ontario retail sales tax. He stated (at paras. 7-8):
[T]he courts are more inclined to regard an item as a chattel if it is installed as part of its owner's business, as opposed to items installed to improve the freehold. For example, equipment installed in a factory to operate a business is usually found to be a chattel because it has nothing to do with improving the freehold. ...
In this case, the microwave equipment did not improve the building in which it was installed. It was installed to enable Hydro to carry out its business of producing and distributing electricity. Therefore, it constitutes a chattel. The retail sales tax was properly paid [thereon].