IN WHICH PROVINCE DO YOU PRINCIPALLY RESIDE?

Originally published on July 26, 2007

 

While it appears to be a straight forward question, John Mandrusiak, a chartered accountant and Alberta farmer went all the way to Supreme Court of British Columbia to get it answered.

Mr. Mandrusiak began working in B.C. in 1987 at the new office of the corporation of which he had been an employee, in Alberta, for 25 years, and since 1987 he maintained a home in both provinces.  Mr. Mandrusiak also owned and operated a farm in Alberta since 1978 and since the 2000 tax year he had been assessed as an unrestricted farmer.

The issue was whether Mr. Mandrusiak was resident in B.C. on the last day of the years in question, and if he was resident in B.C. on those dates whether Alberta or B.C. was his principal place of residence.

The general rule states that the tax laws of the province in which a taxpayer is “ordinarily resident” on the last day of a given year should be applied to the income tax return.  Judge Estey held that “one is an ordinary resident in the place where in the settled routine of his life, he regularly, normally, or customarily lives.”

Judge Sigurdson after examining credit card use and witness testimonies determined that Mr. Mandrusiak spent in the range of five months in Alberta and about seven months, less holidays in B.C.  It was also noted that Mandrusiak had access to motor vehicles in both B.C. and Alberta but he never registered a vehicle in B.C. or held a B.C. driver’s license and had at all relevant times several vehicles registered to him in Alberta and held in Alberta

 

 

driver’s license.  It was also noted that Mr. Mandrusiak had a B.C. Care Card for health care since 1988.   He and his wife attended churches in both Alberta and B.C.  They made charitable donations in both places.  They received bills and financial documents at both locations, although more in B.C.  In 1996 he and his wife purchased burial plots in Alberta.

The Crown argued that since Mr. Mandrusiak chose to spend most of his time in B.C and when coupled with his significant income in 2000 from his employer’s head office in Vancouver, that his financial documents were sent to Vancouver, his bills were paid from there and he was medically insured in B.C. made it clear that Mr. Mandrusiak’s principal place of residence was B.C.

In passing his judgment Judge Sigurdson noted that Mr. Mandrusiak, now 75 was born and raised in Alberta and always had a home there.  He was educated there, he raised a family there and he worked there for many years.  His reason to go to B.C. was work related and he ended up being there longer than he expected but his connection to Alberta remained strong and always continued.

Judge Sigurdson also noted that the residence of one’s dependent and extended family is some indication of where a person’s principal residence may be when he is a resident in two places.  In the case of Mr. Mandrusiak this clearly pointed towards Alberta.  Judge Sigurdson concluded that of the two places of residence, Alberta was his principal place of residence for the years in question.

 

Allyn Tastad, certified general accountant, is a partner in the accounting firm of Hounjet Tastad Harpham in Saskatoon at 306-653-5100, e-mail at allyn@hth-accountants.ca or website www.hth-accountants.ca. He is also involved in the family farm near Loreburn, Saskatchewan.  The opinions expressed in this column are for information only.