If a taxpayer is reassessed and cannot resolve the matter with the Canada Revenue Agency, the next step is to institute an appeal before the Tax Court of Canada. An appeal is instituted by filing a notice of appeal and paying the corresponding court fee.
An appeal can be instituted under the General Procedure Rules or under the Informal Procedure Rules. The taxpayer should be mindful of the differences between the two sets of rules when making his election.
Very broadly, the Informal Procedure Rules are intended for cases where the amount at issue is below a certain threshold. Cases proceeding under the Informal Procedure Rules often deal with self-represented litigants. The Court is not bound by the rules of evidence and the cases generally proceed on an expedited basis. Unlike cases that proceed under the General Procedure Rules, there is no filing fee.
In contrast, the General Procedure Rules follow the normal path of litigation, including exchange of lists of documents and examinations for discovery. The rules of evidence apply and cases generally take longer to be heard because more procedural steps are involved.
Once an appeal is heard and a judgment is rendered, the party who lost the case may appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, assuming there are grounds for appeal. The Federal Court of Appeal is not a court of first instance. The parties cannot present their evidence again, except for special circumstances. Instead, the Court will rely on the transcripts and evidence from the Tax Court of Canada’s hearing. The panel at the Federal Court of Appeal is generally composed of 3 judges.
Last updated: November 1, 2016