Revival of a Corporation: Tax Collection
A June 12, 2023 Court of King’s Bench of Alberta case reviewed CRA’s application to revive a corporation dissolved in 2020.
The former sole shareholder opposed the application. The corporation’s capital losses (as quantified during an audit of the 2013 and 2014 years) were used in 2017 and 2018. CRA sought to revive the corporation and issue notices of assessment for 2017 and 2018.
Under the Alberta Business Corporations Act, a creditor has standing to ask that a dissolved corporation be revived. While taxpayers remain liable for tax when income is earned, the liability does not become a debt until taxes are assessed. As no notice of assessment had been issued, CRA had no standing as a creditor. They would only become a creditor if they issued a notice of assessment. This created a circularity issue as an assessment could not be issued to a dissolved corporation. However, the Court has the power to designate someone as an “interested person,” allowing the designated person to revive a dissolved corporation.
The Court found that CRA had a valid interest in the revival and sought this remedy to further its interest; that is, to issue a notice of assessment to convert the taxpayer’s liability for taxes into a debt.
While the revived corporation would have no assets, no property, no directors and no shareholders, a dissolved corporation that has been revived is deemed to always have existed. CRA argued that they could pursue the former shareholders on the basis that assets were transferred on dissolution to non-arm’s length parties for less than fair market value consideration.