While some of the paid tax resources provide reference tables that show what stage a proposed amendment to the Income Tax Act has reached, how do you figure this out if you don’t have access to one of these resources?
Step 1: What draft legislation are you interested in? Generally tax legislation is published as a “Notice of Ways and Means Motion” before it is introduced as a bill. The Department of Finance Canada provides a listing of all the Notice of Ways and Means Motions back to 2013 at https://www.fin.gc.ca/legislation/draft-avant-eng.asp. You can also find them on Taxnet Pro at Federal Income Tax > Legislation > Proposed Amendments and Explanatory Notes (Special Releases) and on Knotia under Federal Income Tax Collection > Legislation and Treaties > Proposed/Historical Amendments.
Step 2: Check the Income Tax Act to see it includes these changes. If the legislation has come into force, the Income Tax Act should reflect this. If the changes are not shown in the act, you should check the “Amendments Not in Force” section to see if your draft legislation has got as far as Royal Assent. The House of Commons Procedure and Practice notes that a “ways and means bill must be “based on” but not necessarily “identical to” the provisions of its ways and means motion.”
Step 3: Check the bills that have been introduced since your draft legislation was released. The Department of Finance Canada produces a list of bills that amend the Income Tax Act at https://www.fin.gc.ca/legislation/hist-eng.asp.
For example if you were asked “has Royal Assent been given to the draft legislation that was dated October 3, 2016?” you could proceed as follows:
- Using the October 3, 2016 date, find the Notice of Ways and Means referred to. You can see that it amends sections 40, 54, 107, 108, 152, and 220 at the ITA.
- If these amendments have come into force, there should be the following subsection in the definition of “principal residence” in section 54 of the Income Tax Act: (c.1)(iii.1) beginning “if the year begins after 2016…”. There is, so the answer to the question is yes.