Income Tax & Excise Tax (GST)

Note: The forms and information on these pages are provided as a public service. They were written by employees of the Court. Employees are not permitted to give legal advice. For legal advice, you are encouraged to refer to the particular statute or to consult a lawyer.

PROCEDURE PRIOR TO APPEALING TO THE TCC

Before appealing to the TCC to have it resolve an income tax or GST dispute, you must first send a "notice of objection" to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The review of your notice of objection by the CRA will result in a reassessment, a confirmation or a determination. If you do not agree with the CRA's answer to your notice of objection, you have 90 days from the date of the CRA's reassessment, confirmation or determination in which to appeal to the TCC.

You may also appeal to the TCC if the CRA does not respond to your notice of objection within 90 days in an income tax case or 180 days in a GST case.

WAYS IN WHICH AN APPEAL MAY BE RESOLVED

If the appeal proceeds to a court hearing, the appeal is resolved by having both parties appearing in court to present their versions of the facts to a judge. It is important to note that you will have to explain why you disagree with the CRA's decision and provide evidence to that effect.

The judge will then decide the appeal based on the evidence and arguments presented to the Court.

It is always advisable to attempt to resolve a dispute without going to court. Both parties are encouraged to communicate with each other throughout the process to see if they can reach an agreement without going to court.

THE TWO TYPES OF PROCEDURES

There are two types of procedures for appealing to the TCC: (1) the Informal Procedure and (2) the General Procedure.

Please refer to Your Day in Court  for an overview of court procedure.



(1) INFORMAL PROCEDURE

The Informal Procedure is intended to minimize and simplify the legal steps involved in the appeal process: see section 18.3001 of the Tax Court of Canada Act and the Rules.

For income tax appeals the Informal Procedure is limited to cases in which the amount of federal tax and penalties in dispute for each taxation year, excluding interest, is $25,000 or less. For GST appeals, the amount in dispute cannot exceed $50,000.

When the amount in dispute in an income tax case is greater than $25,000 (or $50,000 in a GST appeal), a taxpayer who chooses the Informal Procedure must decide to limit the amount under appeal to $25,000 (or $50,000 in a GST appeal); otherwise the General Procedure will apply.

SUBMITTING THE NOTICE OF APPEAL

In the Informal Procedure, you may represent yourself or be represented by a lawyer or an agent. You are encouraged to use the "Notice of Appeal - Informal Procedure" form, or our online document-filing facility accessible through our Web site. A letter is also acceptable. An original and two (2) copies of your notice of appeal must be submitted to a TCC office of your choice. You may do this in person or by mail. Facsimiles and electronic documents are also accepted, and do not require the filing of the original and two (2) copies.

You are encouraged to use our Electronic Filing facility when submitting your completed "Notice of Appeal" form, and any other document. A letter is also acceptable. Facsimiles and electronic documents are accepted without the need to forward the original notice of appeal and two (2) copies.

If you submit in person or by mail, the original notice of appeal and two (2) copies must be submitted to the Registry at any Tax Court of Canada office.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN THE NOTICE OF APPEAL

Your notice of appeal must include: See section 4 of the Informal Procedure Rules.

  • your full name, your mailing address, telephone number and fax number (if available), and those of your lawyer or agent (if applicable);
  • the taxation year(s) under appeal or the assessment number;
  • the date of the reassessment or confirmation (if applicable, please attach a copy);
  • the grounds for the appeal;
  • a statement that you are appealing under the Informal Procedure;
  • if applicable, a statement that you are limiting the amount of your appeal to $25,000 (for an income tax appeal) or $50,000 (for a GST appeal) for each year under appeal; and
  • the date of your appeal and your signature.

WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I SUBMIT MY NOTICE OF APPEAL TO THE TCC

Once your notice of appeal has been received by the Registry, you will receive a letter of acknowledgement. The TCC will forward a copy of your notice of appeal to CRA, which will reply to your notice of appeal within 60 days.You or your representative will receive a copy of this reply, which contains the CRA's position regarding your appeal.

Usually within 180 days after receiving the reply to your notice of appeal, the TCC will schedule a hearing. A "notice of hearing" which indicates the time and location of your hearing will be sent to you or your representative by registered mail. The notice of hearing will be mailed at least 30 days before your hearing.

An adjournment may be requested prior to the hearing date; however, the Court is reluctant to grant adjournments unless the parties are faced with circumstances which would not permit the hearing to proceed.

On the hearing day, all the parties will appear in court to present their evidence and arguments before the judge. You should think carefully and well ahead of time on how you will present your evidence, and which witnesses and documents you may need to support your position. The parties are encouraged, throughout the process, to contact each other and discuss their positions and any tentative settlement.

The judge may render a decision on your appeal immediately at the end of the hearing but in most cases this is done within 90 days after the hearing. The TCC will send a copy of the judge's decision to both parties.

EXTENDING THE TIME TO APPEAL

If you miss the deadline for initiating an appeal, you may apply to the TCC to extend the time limit. You have one year and 90 days from the date of the reassessment or from the date of the confirmation of the original assessment to file an application to extend the time to appeal.

This application may be in the form of a letter. Your application must indicate that you are applying to extend the time within which an appeal may be brought and you must give the reasons why it was not possible to appeal by the deadline. You can also use our online document-filing facility accessible through our Web site. In the former case, the original and two (2) copies of the application, together with the original and two (2) copies of the notice of appeal, must be sent to the Registry at a TCC office.

Once the Registry has received your application, it will be forwarded to the CRA. Justice Canada, which represents the CRA, may respond to the application. If the CRA opposes the application, the TCC will schedule a hearing to give both parties the opportunity to present evidence and make arguments to a judge. The judge will then issue a decision either dismissing or granting the application. If the CRA does not oppose the application, the TCC will review your application without a hearing. The decision will be sent to you or your representative, if applicable.

HOW TO APPEAL A DECISION OF THE TCC

If you are dissatisfied with a decision of the TCC under the Informal Procedure you may apply to the Federal Court of Appeal to have it review the decision. The deadlines for appealing can be found in the reference table.

(2) GENERAL PROCEDURE

Appeals under the General Procedure are subject to a number of formal procedures and legal steps. A copy of the TCC's rules may be required to help you follow the entire process. The rules may be obtained from any TCC office or consulted on our Web site.

See section 17 of the Tax Court of Canada Act and the General Procedure Rules.

Under this procedure, formal court procedures are closely followed.

When appealing under the General Procedure, you may represent yourself or be represented by a lawyer. A corporation must be represented by a lawyer unless the TCC grants a request allowing an officer of the corporation to represent it.

An appeal is initiated by submitting the original and two (2) copies of your notice of appeal, together with the appropriate filing fee, to the Registry at a TCC office. You may do so in person or by mail.

You may also send your notice of appeal by fax or by using our online document-filing facility accessible through our Web site. Facsimiles and electronic documents are accepted without the need to forward the original notice of appeal and two (2) copies. The filing fee must follow by mail.

SUBMITTING THE NOTICE OF APPEAL

Under the General Procedure, your notice of appeal must be submitted in the format set out in the "Notice of Appeal - General Procedure" form.

You are encouraged to use our Electronic Filing facility in submitting your documents, including the "Notice of Appeal" form. Facsimiles and electronic documents are accepted without the need to forward the original notice of appeal and two (2) copies.

If you submit in person or by mail, the original notice of appeal and two (2) copies must be submitted to the Registry at any Tax Court of Canada office.

FILING FEES

The following fees are required at the time the appeal is initiated:
  • where the amount in issue is less than $50,000 -- the fee is $250;
  • where the amount in issue is $50,000 or more but less than $150,000 - the fee is $400;
  • where the amount in issue is $150,000 or more -- the fee is $550.

Cheques must be made in Canadian funds payable to the Receiver General for Canada. If the notice of appeal is filed in person, a debit card may also be used.

WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I SUBMIT MY NOTICE OF APPEAL

Once your notice of appeal has been sent to the Registry and the appropriate filing fee has been paid, the TCC will forward your notice of appeal to Justice Canada, CRA's representative. Justice Canada must reply to the notice of appeal within 60 days. You or your lawyer will receive a copy of this reply, which contains the CRA's position regarding your appeal. You or your lawyer may answer the reply within 30 days of receiving it.

Once you have answered the reply or the time limit for answering has expired, the parties are required to exchange lists of the documents they will be relying on at the hearing. Examinations for discovery usually follow. An application to schedule a hearing date may be made jointly by the parties to the appeal, or by one of the parties, after these procedural steps are completed or the parties have agreed that they are unnecessary. Other procedural steps can also occur in preparation for the hearing, such as motions, the filing of experts' reports, and pre-hearing conferences.

If no application has been received within 2 months after the reply was received from Justice Canada, the Court may call the parties together to determine the status of the appeal. At that time, the judge may set time limits for completing any remaining steps and schedule a date for your hearing.

EXTENDING THE TIME TO APPEAL

If you miss the deadline for initiating an appeal, you may apply to the TCC to extend the time limit. You have one year and 90 days from the date of the reassessment or from the date of the confirmation of the original assessment to file an application to extend the time to appeal.

This application may be in the form of a letter. Your application must indicate that you are applying to extend the time within which an appeal may be brought and you must give the reasons why it was not possible to appeal by the deadline. You can also use our online document-filing facility accessible through our Web site. In the former case, the original and two (2) copies of the application, together with the original and two (2) copies of the notice of appeal, must be sent to the Registry at a TCC office.

Once the Registry has received your application, it will be forwarded to the CRA. Justice Canada, which represents the CRA, may respond to the application. If the CRA opposes the application, the TCC will schedule a hearing to give both parties the opportunity to present evidence and make arguments to a judge. The judge will then issue a decision either dismissing or granting the application. If the CRA does not oppose the application, the TCC will review your application without a hearing. The decision will be sent to you or your representative, if applicable.

HOW TO APPEAL A DECISION OF THE TCC

If you are dissatisfied with a decision of the TCC you may appeal it to the Federal Court of Appeal within 30 days after the issuance of the TCC judgment. The deadlines for appealing can be found in the reference table.


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Date modified: 2015-09-09