Sask. uranium miner Cameco celebrates tax court victory
Court rules in favour of Canada for 3 disputed years, total tax bill totals $2.2 billion
Saskatchewan-based uranium company Cameco says it’s very pleased with a recent decision from the Tax Court of Canada.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) took issue with a Cameco subsidiary that sold uranium in Switzerland, stating that it used the company to avoid paying taxes in Canada. Cameco maintains it was a legal and sound business practice.
On Wednesday, the court ruled in favour of Cameco in a tax dispute with the CRA that stretches back to 2009 when Cameco first challenged the CRA’s findings, and involved a tax bill of $2.2 billion in total.
While the 300-page ruling only covers three disputed years: 2003, 2005 and 2006. The company hopes courts will be persuaded to apply the decision to the entire $2.2 billion.
“This is a clear and decisive ruling in our favour,” said Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel during a conference call.
“We believe the thorough and meticulous analysis of the facts is going to make this difficult to overturn.”
In July, slow uranium prices meant the company indefinitely suspended its production at its McArthur River and Key Lake operations. There were 550 mine workers and 150 corporate head office employees permanently laid off.
“As a result of this dispute, we have had to fight through a seven year drop in our industry with what feels like our hands tied behind our backs,” said Gitzel.
“We have made very difficult decisions in order to manage the risks we face, which in large part are due to the uncertainty created by this dispute.”
The company said it remains cautious about reopening its mines in northern Saskatchewan, but this recent decision will certainly help matters.
“We’re starting to see a recovery in the spot market,” said chief financial officer Grant Isaac. “It’s begun, but it’s not there yet.”
Cameco said it has already paid half of the $11 million bill for the three years in question and is expecting it will be refunded.
To date, the company said it has paid $781 million in taxes and interest for the years between 2003 to 2012.
The years between 2013 and 2017 still haven’t been reassessed, but Cameco hopes this latest decision will apply to those years..
The company is also looking to recoup $45 million in legal costs.
The CRA has 30 days to appeal the decision.
Source: CBC News
By: · CBC News ·