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However, the CRA is also aiming to reassess Cameco’s for tax years from 2003 to 2013. Cameco disclosed earlier this year that, if reassessments were to keep rolling in, it could face tax expenses of around $2.6 billion for 2003 to 2019.
Moreover, based on its reassessments thus far, Cameco has already paid the government $303 million in cash and handed over $482 million in letters of credit, all of which it expects to recover. In addition, Cameco has said it paid taxes of around $326 million for 2003 to 2019 outside of Canada, which, even if the CRA wins its tax fight, could lead the company to “consider our options under bilateral international tax treaties to limit double taxation of this income.”
Most attempts to get the Supreme Court to hear a case are rejected, and Cameco has estimated that even if the appeal proceeds, it could take until the second half of 2022 for a decision. However, the government says its application raises issues of public importance.
“The Canada Revenue Agency considers this an important matter as it relates to international profit shifting and erosion of Canada’s tax base which undermines the government’s ability to provide benefits and services to Canadians,” a CRA spokesperson said in an email.
At any rate, a decision by the Supreme Court on whether or not to hear the Cameco case could finally lead to a resolution and certainty around the transfer-pricing regime.
“It’s important that it be settled,” said Toby Sanger, an economist and director of Canadians for Tax Fairness. “And if there are problems with it, they need to go and look at changing legislation.”