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Missed Your 90-Day Deadline? There May Still Be More Time!

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Taxpayers who seek to challenge tax assessments made by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) usually have the right to file a Notice of Objection (“Objection”), and those Objections are usually due within 90 days of the mailing date of the assessment.

Objection is the first and most important step of the taxpayers appeal process for any tax assessment, and the 90-day deadline generally should not be missed. For taxpayers that have missed the 90-day deadline, all hope is not lost, as there are special rules that might allow for a late-filed Objection. Taxpayers seeking to benefit from these rules should generally seek legal advice to understand and select the most appropriate next steps!

Background

Any person who has been assessed by the CRA has the right to object to that assessment subject to certain limitations. For example, under section 301 of the Excise Tax Act (“ETA”) or section 165 of the Income Tax Act (“ITA”), a person may, within 90 daysafter the day Notice of Assessment is sent to the person, file an Objection in the prescribed form and manner (the “90-Day Deadline”).

When an Objection is not filed by the 90-Day Deadline, the taxpayers may still have the ability to ask the Minister for an extension to allow for the filing of an Objection (an “Extension Request”). Such request needs to be made as timely as possible in the circumstances. There is no guarantee that the Minister will accept that request, and requests made more than one year after the 90-Day Deadline cannot be granted! Where the Minister denies the Extension Request, taxpayers may have a further option under section 303 of the ETA (or section 166.1 of the ITA) to request the Tax Court of Canada (“TCC”) to grant the Extension Request – albeit under very tight timelines!.

Recent Case

In Lamarnic & J Ltd. v. The Queen, Lamarnic initially failed to file an Objection within the 90-Day Deadline and also failed to file a timely Extension Request. Instead, Lamarnic tried to file a Notice of Appeal with the TCC directly, over two years after the date of the original tax assessment, attempting to extend the time for filing an Objection.

Lamarnic’s attempt was rejected by the TCC, which held that the rules outlined above had to be complied with (e.g., application to the Minister) before a taxpayer could attempt to enlist the assistance of the TCC. Unfortunately for Lamarnic, his assertions that CRA had provided him with conflicting information was found to be “irrelevant” by the TCC.

Commentary

In these situations, it is always best to file a timely Objection. Where that cannot be done, there may be limited time to apply for an Extension Request, and they may be granted in appropriate circumstances. Legal assistance is often highly advisable where the original 90-Day Deadline is missed.

More often than not, unsophisticated taxpayers are not cognizant of their rights in particular situations, of the requirements for the granting of a successful Extension Request.

Where you have been assessed for tax, but somehow missed the normal 90-Day Deadline, seek immediate legal assistance.

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