The Tax Act now provides that when the CRA wants information held by one person (e.g. a charity) for the purpose of verifying the tax compliance of unnamed persons (e.g. that charity's donors), the CRA must first get a court order without notice to anyone. Once the court order is obtained and the demand made of the known person (e.g. the charity), that person has the ability to review the information demand in court (with the information typically not obtained by the CRA until the court review and any appeal are complete). The Federal Government believes that this right of review delays CRA in obtaining information needed by it to allow it to reassess. As a result, CRA will now be required to notify the person with information before obtaining a court order compelling disclosure of information relating to unnamed persons. The information holder will be able to participate in the original CRA court application (although likely with little notice), which should speed up CRA access when given.
This change, notwithstanding that it is designed to allow CRA even easier access to taxpayer information, should have the effect of allowing the Courts to make better decisions on when to allow access.