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Re Eurig Estate, [1998] 2 SCR 565 (Link)


Provinces can only raise revenue through direct taxation (Direct tax: imposed on a person who is expected to bear the brunt of it. Indirect tax: imposed on the person who has obligation to pay it, but with the expectation that the tax will be passed on to another (e.g. customs or excise duty)

Case involves a challenge to the prov imposition of probate fees. Under the Act, the executor had to pay probate fees; then the executor could recover those fees from the estate (estate is the beneficiary).


Is the estate indirectly paying? Is it:
** 1. Tax is imposed on the executor; executor claims the tax from the beneficiary (an indirect tax); OR
** 2. Executor is never personally responsible for the tax; the beneficiary is the only person liable for the tax (a direct tax)?


An executor of an estate plays the role of collection agent only and is not personally responsible for the tax on the estate; therefore a provision imposing probate fees is acceptable as it constitutes a direct tax (and is therefore within the purview of the province).

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