Canada: The ACBs Of Cost

Last Updated: September 20 2012
Article by Dale Franko

A recent Tax Court of Canada ("TCC") decision in Brosamler Estate v. R.,1 released on June 12, 2012, considered the issue of whether certain amounts so incurred could be added to the adjusted cost base ("ACB") of the capital property held by the taxpayer.

To the extent that the ACB could be increased then the resulting taxable capital gain on a disposition would be lower or the capital loss would be greater. Section 54 of the Income Tax Act (the "Act") defines ACB, among other things, as "...the cost to the taxpayer of the property adjusted, as of that time, in accordance with section 53... ." Basically, subsection 53(1) of the Act provides for specific amounts that are added to the ACB of the property while subsection 53(2) of the Act provides for specific amounts that are deducted from the ACB of the property.

In Brosamler, two taxpayers appealed to the TCC: Gunnar Brosamler, deceased ("Brosamler") and the Estate of Gunnar Brosamler (the "Estate"). The facts are briefly summarized below:

  • Brosamler died in April 2008 and was a resident of Germany for income tax purposes at the time of his death;
  • Brosamler owned three rental properties in Vancouver, BC (commonly referred to as Taxable Canadian Property ("TCP"));2
  • As a result of the deemed disposition rules on death,3 Brosamler was deemed to dispose of his TCP and realized a capital gain of $6,379,3004 on his 2008 personal income tax return;
  • Brosamler's will was subject to probate in Germany;
  • The Estate wanted to sell two of the three properties for liquidity purposes. However, the Estate could not dispose of the properties to a third party unless conveyance from Brosamler to the Estate was registered in compliance with the Land Title Act (British Columbia) and this could only occur if the probate was resealed in BC. Accordingly, probate and legal fees were incurred and were proportionately added to the ACB of the properties by the Executrix of the Estate ;
  • The Estate disposed of two of the three properties during the first year following Brosamler's death, which resulted in the realization of a capital loss;
  • The Executrix of the Estate elected to carry the capital loss back5 to the final tax return of Brosamler reducing the tax otherwise payable on the deemed disposition of TCP.

The appellants and the Canada Revenue Agency ("CRA") agreed with all findings and transactions except for one – the addition of the prorated probate and legal fees to the ACB of the properties disposed by the Estate (which increased the underlying capital loss).

The CRA argued "since the Estate had acquired an interest in the properties under the Estate Administration Act (British Columbia) that ancillary probate was not required in order for the Estate to acquire an interest in the properties." Accordingly, the CRA concluded that the additions to the Act of the disposed properties were not appropriate.

However, the TCC concluded that the interest in properties that were sold by the Estate "was an interest in the properties that could be registered under the Land Title Act by the purchasers of the properties and to acquire this interest in the properties the Estate had to incur the probate fees and legal fees."

Accordingly, the probate fees and legal fees were added to the ACB of the properties on a proportionate basis which resulted in a greater capital loss available for carryback by the Estate.

Of further interest is the TCC's comment that "if the amount for probate fee and legal fees is not added to the adjusted cost base of the properties, these fees were outlays or expenses incurred for the purpose of making the dispositions of the properties. As a result such amounts would be deductible in determining the capital losses realized by the Estate on the disposition of such properties."6

While the outcome of Brosamler was clearly a win for the appellants, the decision has no direct precedential value as it was determined under the Informal Procedure of the Tax Court as opposed to General Procedure.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting conclusion and interpretation of subsection 53(1) of the Income Tax Act.


1. Estate of the Late Gunnar Brosamler v. HMQ, 2012 TCC 204 (Tax Court of Canada [Informal Procedure]).

2. As defined in subsection 248(1) of the Act.

3. Pursuant to subsection 70(5) of the Act.

4. Deemed proceeds of disposition were $6,750,000 aggregate ACB of $370,700.

5. Pursuant to subsection 164(6) of the Act.

6. Pursuant to paragraph 40(1)(a) of the Act.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Dale Franko
Events from this Firm
18 Oct 2018, Webinar, Calgary, Canada

On Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the biggest US tax reform bill in 31 years, changing the lives of Americans at home and abroad. Many US residents will see an immediate benefit on their 2018 tax return, but for US expats and green card holders living abroad, things may have changed for the worse.

20 Oct 2018, Seminar, Vancouver, Canada

On Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the biggest US tax reform bill in 31 years, changing the lives of Americans at home and abroad.

27 Oct 2018, Seminar, London, UK

On Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the biggest US tax reform bill in 31 years, changing the lives of Americans at home and abroad.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions