Understanding the Canada-US Income Tax Convention and Its Impact on Accounting


By offering tax reductions or exemptions on particular types of income that residents of one treaty partner country receive from sources within the other, income tax treaties aim to reduce international double taxation significantly. Often, these tax benefits require careful consideration of the accounting issues involved. Accordingly, tax practitioners should be better familiar with these issues to serve their resident alien and nonresident alien clientele. Have the Best information about Income Tax Convention.

The United States has payment tax like-mindedness with 58 countries, including the Arrangement between the United States and Canada. The essential impact of the United States-Canada treaty is the elimination of withholding tax on interest and royalties paid between related parties not connected to a permanent establishment in either country. This change simplifies cross-border financing transactions and may affect many companies with U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries or joint ventures.

In addition, the new treaty provides several other tax advantages that will benefit taxpayers and their accountants. These include eliminating the 10% tax on the amount of welfare to a contracting state or political subdivision and excluding from taxation in the United States copyright royalties paid by a Canadian resident to a U.S. resident or vice versa.

The new treaty also eliminates withholding tax on dividends received by a corporation from a contracting state or political subdivision thereof. This is expected to significantly impact the foreign dividends repatriated to the United States by American corporations with significant operations in Canada.

In some cases, the treaty preserves or “saves” the right of the United States to tax its citizens and residents worldwide. Still, it contains special provisions to avoid double taxation in these situations. In particular, it includes an anti-abuse clause that prevents a United States company from avoiding its treaty obligations through a series of interrelated transactions with third-country persons. This provision is called the “anti-deferral” rule and has significant implications for international tax planning.

Other new rules in the United States-Canada treaty address the treatment of hybrid entities. For example, a Canadian limited liability company treated as a partnership for income tax purposes in the United States will be subject to a withholding tax on distributions from the U.S. entity that are not deductible in Canada. This will require those taxpayers to reconsider their corporate structure.

The new treaty also deals with branch profits taxes. Article V of the treaty states that both contracting states may impose a branch profit tax on the profits of a permanent establishment in either country. Still, the amounts attributable to the permanent establishment in each country are determined by the rules set out in the treaty. Consequently, the branch profits tax may be at most 5 percent of the gross business profits of the permanent establishment in the United States. The new treaty also provides that a second-level branch profits tax may not be imposed in either country on the same income as the first-level branch profits tax.

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