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Tax-driven Reorganizations, Purifications, Butterfly Transactions

Tax-driven reorganizations are complex restructuring strategies used by Canadian businesses to achieve various tax advantages. This may include consolidating corporate entities, transferring assets or liabilities between related entities, or changing the legal form of the business. Reorganizations can be undertaken for various reasons, such as tax efficiency, regulatory compliance, succession planning, or strategic business objectives. Common types of reorganizations in Canada include amalgamations, purifications, butterflies, and share exchanges.


Purifications are a type of tax-driven reorganization used to remove non-operating assets or liabilities from a corporation to optimize tax efficiency and most often to enable the corporate to qualify for the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption on a sale of shares by its owners. This may involve transferring non-core assets or liabilities to a separate entity within the corporate group or disposing of them altogether. Purifications typically involve a series of steps of s.85 rollovers or s.86 share exchanges and offsetting agreements that have the end result of transferring out passive assets such that over 90% of the assets of the target company are actively used in the business operations.

Butterfly Transactions

Butterfly transactions are complex tax planning strategies used to facilitate tax-efficient transfers of assets or businesses within a corporate group, typically without triggering immediate tax consequences. The name “butterfly” refers to the idea of splitting a corporation into multiple entities, similar to the way a butterfly’s wings are split. These transactions involve the transfer of assets or shares of a corporation to one or more related corporations in exchange for consideration, such as shares or cash.

In a butterfly transaction, a corporation (referred to as the distributing corporation) distributes certain assets or businesses to its shareholders, typically by way of a dividend or redemption of shares. Simultaneously, the distributing corporation transfers other assets or businesses to one or more newly formed corporations (referred to as the spin-off corporation(s) in exchange for shares of those corporations. Butterfly transactions can be used for various purposes, such as estate planning, corporate reorganizations, or business succession. They require careful structuring and compliance with Canadian tax laws to ensure that they achieve the desired tax benefits without adverse tax consequences.


In summary, tax-driven reorganizations, purifications, and butterfly transactions are sophisticated tax planning tools used by Canadian businesses to achieve tax efficiency, streamline operations, and optimize their corporate structures. These strategies require careful planning, analysis, and compliance with Canadian tax laws and regulations to ensure that they achieve the intended tax benefits while minimizing tax risks and liabilities. Businesses considering these strategies should seek advice from qualified tax professionals and the corporate lawyers at Kalfa Law Firm Firm to assess their suitability and ensure compliance with applicable tax laws.


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