Frequently Asked Questions

What is the International Business Activity (IBA) program?

The IBA program provides eligible corporations, foreign banks authorized to carry on business in Canada and specialists who work for those entities a refund of the B.C. income tax paid on income related to their international business carried on in B.C.

Learn more about eligibility for the IBA program.

Who can claim the tax refund? 

Registered corporations, foreign banks authorized to carry on business in Canada and registered IB specialists are eligible to claim a refund under the IBA program. An eligible corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada must register itself, and any specialists it employs, under the Act to qualify for the program. There is a $5,000 fee to register a corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada. There is no fee to register an IB specialist.

Learn about registering for the IBA program.

Why is registration necessary?

The IBA program is a refund program. The more information that you provide about your business and your operations, the better we will be able to provide you with informed feedback on your registration under the IBA program.

As registration is only one of the eligibility requirements for obtaining a refund under the IBA program, the Ministry of Finance should be informed of any changes that may modify, expand or restructure your international business to ensure that you continue to be eligible for the IBA program in the future. 

A corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada must continue to meet certain requirements to maintain its registration status. Failure to meet these requirements could result in suspension or cancellation of the corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada’s registration and any specialists employed.

What is the earliest date a corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada can be registered? 

The earliest date a corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada can be registered is the date the entity applies for registration

Is a corporation required to re-register following amalgamation?

Where two or more corporations amalgamate and at least one of the corporations was registered under the IBA program, the newly formed corporation must re-register within 90 days of the date of the amalgamation or within a later period, as approved by the Ministry of Finance.

If two or more corporate registrants amalgamate, the newly formed corporation is automatically registered upon proper notice of the amalgamation.

Learn more about re-registering under the IBA program on our registration page.

What is AdvantageBC (formally known as International Financial Centre British Columbia [IFC BC])? 

AdvantageBC is a non-profit society, established in 1986, that promotes B.C. as a location for investment and encourages corporations to take advantage of the favourable tax treatment available under the IBA program.

A corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada registering under the IBA program must establish and maintain membership in AdvantageBC within 90 days of the date of registration. 

Who qualifies as an IB specialist?

An IB specialist is an employee of a registered corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada.

An employee can be an IB specialist for a maximum of five years from the date of registration. During this five-year period, an IB specialist may switch employment between registered corporations or foreign banks authorized to carry on business in Canada.

Learn more about the eligibility rules and how a corporation may register an IB specialist

Does the specialist need to be a non-resident?

No, but the specialist must be a non-resident at the time of entering into the contract of employment with the corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada, or have been previously registered as an IB specialist. 

Learn more about specific eligibility rules for an IB specialist

Where can I get IBA program forms?

You can find these forms on our forms and publications page. You can enter data directly into the Adobe PDF documents from your computer, then print, sign and submit the completed form to the address on the form.

What are the time limits on filing a claim?

To obtain a tax refund, an IBA registrant or IB specialist must file a return with the Ministry of Finance within 18 months after the end of their tax year. The return will be considered complete only if all questions on the return are answered and all applicable supporting documentation is provided. 

Learn more about refunds.

Can a refund be obtained if no B.C. income taxes are payable? 

No. The tax refund is based on B.C. income tax paid (after deducting all refundable and non-refundable tax credits).

Must B.C. income taxes be paid prior to receiving the refund? 

Yes, prior to receiving the refund, proof must be provided that both federal and provincial income taxes relating to the tax year have been paid in full.

What happens if the Canada Revenue Agency makes changes that affect a tax refund calculation? 

If a Notice of Assessment or Reassessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency under the Income Tax Act (Canada) or the Income Tax Act (B.C.) changes an amount relevant to calculating your tax refund for the tax year, a registered corporation, foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada or IB specialist must notify the Ministry of Finance within 90 days after the issuance of the notice by filing an amended Return.

If the Ministry of Finance is not notified as required, and the assessment or reassessment results in an increased refund, you may be liable for a penalty of up to $2,500.

If the assessment or reassessment results in a decreased refund, you may be liable for a penalty equal to 25% of the difference.

Learn more about filing an amended return by reading our guides. You can find the forms and guides on our forms and publications page.

Is an IBA refund obtained by a corporation or foreign bank authorized to carry on business in Canada considered government assistance under the Income Tax Act?

The Canada Revenue Agency has ruled that a refund received by a corporation under the IBA program is included in income under Section 12(1)(x) of the Income Tax Act (Canada), unless the corporation makes an election under Section 12 (2.2) of that Act. 

Is an IBA refund obtained by a specialist considered a benefit of employment under the Income Tax Act

The Canada Revenue Agency has ruled that a refund received by an IB specialist under the IBA program is not received by virtue of the individual's employment and does not have to be included in the individual's income under the Income Tax Act.