Taxation is a fact of business life, but it can get particularly messy when a business or individual seeks to challenge a tax assessment or other decision by the Canada Revenue Agency. Rogerson Law Group has a dedicated Tax Litigation team who are experienced in successfully making Tax Objections and tax appeals on behalf of businesses and individuals.
The CRA is not always right – and mistakes can happen. Situations where an individual or business may be unhappy with their tax assessment by the CRA include:
- Tax disputes and tax appeals with the CRA, or in the provincial Ministry of Revenue
- Notice of Assessment following a tax return
- Notice of Reassessment following a tax audit
Challenging the CRA
If you don’t agree with a CRA assessment, disallowance or a decision (or one issued by the Ministry of Finance) – simple, informal discussions may achieve the result you want. In other cases, it may be that decision can be explained to you so that you can understand how the assessment/decision was properly arrived at.
If you are still dissatisfied with a Notice of Assessment/Reassessment, you can make a formal objection to the CRA.
How do I object?
For your best chances of a successful objection where informal discussions fail, we advise you to contact us as early as possible. A formal, written Notice of Objection must be sent to the Objections and Appeals Branch at the CRA.
There is a procedure which must be complied with:
Time Limits: a Notice of Objection must be filed within 90 days from the date of the mailing of the Assessment. In some cases, this deadline will be extended by 12 months – the CRA will, for instance, want to be satisfied with the reasons given before agreeing an extension. Note that the CRA is particularly strict with businesses in refusing an extension. If you have delayed the matter, contact us so we can take full details and make the most effective application for extension possible in your circumstances.
First Stage: a CRA Tax Appeal Officer will consider the case and makes its decision. This officer will be independent of the audit division that made the initial assessment. We will make submissions on your behalf, but note that this stage can take several months. The officer will either cancel the assessment/reassessment, vary it, or confirm it.
Appeal to Tax Court: if you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you then have 90 days from the date the CRA send a Notice of Confirmation to file an appeal with the Tax Court of Canada. If the amount in dispute is relatively small, an Informal Procedure may be your best option – this is quicker and cheaper. Larger amounts will be dealt with under the General Procedure.
Appeal to Federal Court of Appeal: a decision of the Informal Procedure (for small amounts), and a decision of the Tax Court under the General Procedure, can be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal within 30 days of the judgment being issued.
Appeal to the Supreme Court: if you are dissatisfied with the ruling of the Federal Court, you can seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. However, this will usually only be granted where the issue is of national importance.
What should I do?
Take expert advice: the law and procedure relating to taxation is notoriously complex and we do not advise anyone to challenge the CRA without help and representation from experienced tax objection solicitors. We will aggressively defend and argue your position, and we have a high success record in Tax Appeals and Tax Objections on behalf of our clients.
The Tax Objections and Appeals team at Rogerson Law Group, is led by Norman MacDonald a specialist in tax litigation and asset protection with extensive international experience, having practised in Bermuda, England and Europe.