Registration Requirements Related to Tax Credits

Purpose of Advisory Opinion

This advisory opinion is issued by the Commissioner under the authority of subsection 10(1) of the Lobbying Act (hereafter "the Act"). Its purpose is to state the Commissioner's official view on the application of the Act to registration requirements for tax credits.

Commissioner's Opinion

Tax credits, such as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development investment tax credits, are not considered to be a financial benefit. Therefore, applying for such a tax credit is not deemed to be a registrable activity under the Lobbying Act.

Background

The registration requirements related to tax credits affects a broad group of taxpayers. As an example, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) investment tax credit, has been examined in terms of whether this program is consistent with the general meaning of what constitutes a "financial benefit" as it is used in the Lobbying Act.

The Commissioner takes the view that an application for a tax credit, such as those offered through the SR&ED Tax Incentive Program or other similar tax credit and incentive programs are, in essence, an application to the Canada Revenue Agency for moneys that the taxpayer is entitled to receive provided that the taxpayer meets the particular requirements of the particular tax credit program. In this way, this is distinguishable from the "…awarding of any grant, contribution or other financial benefit" that the Lobbying Act is intended to capture as the subject matter of registrable lobbying activity, as defined in sections 5 and 7 of the Lobbying Act. In situations involving tax credits, there is no entitlement to the awarding of the grant, contribution or other financial benefit in question.

The Commissioner has determined that a tax credit is not a financial benefit under the Lobbying Act and therefore the application for such a tax credit is not a registrable lobbying activity for both consultant and in-house lobbyists.

For further information, please contact:

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada
Telephone: 613-957-2760
Facsimile: 613-957-3078
E-mail: QuestionsLobbying@cal-ocl.gc.ca

Karen E. Shepherd
Commissioner of Lobbying
October 2009