Indirect Tax

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Indirect tax affects every aspect of a business’s operations – from purchases and sales to imports and exports – making its potential impact extensive. Senior management must understand the full scope of these tax obligations and liabilities, and ensure that a comprehensive strategy is developed that aligns with the organization’s business realities and objectives. In addition to complying with applicable legislation and regulations by collecting and remitting the correct amount of tax, it is critical that companies examine their existing approach, to determine whether it limits indirect tax exposure across the enterprise. For example, companies should consider whether they are minimizing the unrecoverable taxes and duties that they pay on cross-border transactions and the import of goods into Canada.

The consequences to a corporation of not having an effective and compliant indirect tax strategy can be far-reaching. Businesses could also end up paying more tax than is required. In addition, the possibility of being assessed by tax authorities looms large, with assessments potentially leading to tax disputes and litigation.  The company’s profitability can suffer as the rise in the cost of both the tax and compliance increases the pricing of the organization’s products and services.  

Companies turn to the experts in Osler’s Taxation Group to help them develop an optimal indirect tax strategy that will address these issues and minimize their liabilities. Our indirect tax practitioners are recognized as some of the nation’s leading advisors and have decades of combined experience advising businesses in the banking, insurance, energy, manufacturing, distribution, retail, and import/export industries on the most tax-efficient ways of structuring their operations. Clients also benefit from the insights and connections gained from our advisors’ participation in various industry groups, including the invitation-only CPA Canada GST Leaders’ Forum, a group of leading GST/HST experts in Canada.

Clients rely on Osler tax practitioners to provide:

  • planning and compliance advice on all aspects of commodity taxation (including GST, HST, QST and provincial sales taxes), customs, import/export controls, excise taxes, fuel taxes, cross-border taxation issues, non-resident taxation issues and taxation issues related to real property development
  • guidance on the tax-efficient structuring of major transactions, corporate reorganizations, tax rulings and interpretation requests, indirect tax management strategies and compliance, due diligence and voluntary disclosures
  • indirect tax dispute resolution (audits, objections, appeals) and litigation, leveraging the extensive expertise of our lawyers who appear regularly before the Tax Court of Canada and Federal Court of Appeal
  • compliance audits for customs and the North America Free Trade Agreement
  • training related to sales tax issues, customs issues, and export controls and compliance.

Representative work

Representative work by Osler’s indirect tax practitioners includes:


  • the Toronto-Dominion Bank in the sale of its indirect home improvement financing assets to Financeit and Concentra
  • Target Canada Co. on the orderly wind-down of its Canadian operations pursuant to proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act
  • BMO Financial Group on the acquisition of GE Capital's Transportation Finance business in the U.S. and Canada.

acting on the following significant litigation matters:

  • Canada Trustco Mortgage Company
  • Canadian Medical Protective Association
  • CIBC World Markets Inc.
  • The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology
  • General Motors of Canada Limited
  • Great-West Life Assurance Company
  • President’s Choice Bank
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • Woodbine Entertainment Group.





  • Hydro One Limited

    Hydro One in its proposed $6.7 billion acquisition of Avista

  • The Toronto-Dominion Bank

    The Toronto-Dominion Bank in the sale of its indirect home improvement financing assets to Financeit and Concentra

  • Target Canada Co.

    Target in connection with the wind-down of its Canadian operations under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act

  • Bank of Montreal

    BMO Financial Group in connection with its acquisition of General Electric Capital Corporation’s Transportation Finance Business

  • Alphora Research

    Alphora Research in connection with its sale to Eurofins Scientific

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