TCC rules in favour of Velcro Canada: Beneficial ownership for tax treaty purposes

Tax Controversy & Dispute Resolution ()

On February 24, 2012, the Tax Court of Canada (TCC) released its decision in Velcro Canada Inc. v. The Queen. Velcro Canada is only the second Canadian case to consider the meaning of “beneficial owner” in the context of the interest, dividend and royalty provisions of Canada’s tax treaties. The first was Prévost Car Inc. v. The Queen, which dealt with whether the recipient of a dividend paid by a Canadian company was the beneficial owner of the dividend. In Velcro Canada, the payment at issue was a royalty.

The principles established in Velcro Canada (along with Prévost) are important for taxpayers paying interest, dividends or royalties to a resident of a treaty country, in determining whether the recipient is the “beneficial owner” of the payment.