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Understanding Associated Corporation Tax Rules in Canada

Discover the intricacies of Canadian corporation tax rules and gain a comprehensive understanding through our website.
Analysis by
Nitin Ashok, CPA, CFA
January 15, 2024 10:33 AM
min read
Associated Corporation Tax Rules in Canada
Table of Contents


    When it comes to tax planning for businesses, one area of concern is the associated corporation tax rules in Canada. These rules are designed to prevent businesses from taking advantage of loopholes to avoid the annual limit that applies to the small business deduction. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive deep into the associated corporation tax rules, their definitions, and their implications for businesses.

    The Problem

    The associated corporation tax rules were introduced to counter a potential loophole that could allow corporations to sidestep the annual limit on the small business deduction. This limitation is set at $500,000, and the concern was that businesses could divide their activities between two separate corporations to double up on this deduction. To tackle this issue, the law requires associated companies to share their annual business limit.

    Definitions and Related Persons

    Before delving into the associated corporation tax rules, it's important to understand some key definitions related to related persons. According to the Income Tax Act (ITA), individuals are considered related if they are connected by blood relationship, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption. This definition extends to include parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, common-law partners, and even children, whether adopted or born outside of marriage.

    For corporations, the definition of related and associated is more complex. The ITA outlines various scenarios under which corporations are considered related. These scenarios include control by the same person or group of persons, control through holding companies, and control through legal or factual means.

    Associated Corporation Tax Rules: Categories

    The ITA's associated corporation tax rules can be categorized into several scenarios. Let's explore each of these scenarios in detail:

    1. Control by Direct Ownership (ITA 256(1)(a)): Under this rule, one corporation is associated with another if one controls the other. For instance, if Corporation A owns a significant portion of the voting shares of Corporation B, they are associated.
    2. Common Control (ITA 256(1)(b)): If two corporations are both controlled by the same person or group of persons, they are considered associated. This often occurs when a single individual controls both entities.
    3. Cross-Control with Common Ownership (ITA 256(1)(c)): If both corporations are controlled by different persons, but these persons are related and each owns at least 25% of the other's shares, the corporations are associated.
    4. Cross-Control through a Related Group (ITA 256(1)(d)): This scenario involves one corporation being controlled by a person related to each member of a group that controls the other corporation. The person must own at least 25% of the non-specified class shares of the other corporation.
    5. Cross-Control through Related Groups (ITA 256(1)(e)): In this case, each corporation is controlled by a related group where all members of one group are related to all members of the other group. Additionally, one or more persons who are members of both related groups must own at least 25% of the non-specified class shares of each corporation.


    Navigating the associated corporation tax rules in Canada requires a comprehensive understanding of related persons, control, and various scenarios that determine association. These rules are in place to ensure that businesses don't exploit loopholes to gain undue tax advantages. As a business owner, it's crucial to work with tax professionals who can guide you through these rules to ensure compliance and efficient tax planning. By understanding the intricacies of associated corporation tax rules, you can make informed decisions that benefit your business while staying within the legal boundaries.

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