In TLQ 3:4, we reported on a Federal Court decision requiring eBay Canada to provide information on high-volume sellers to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It ruled that the CRA had the right to examine the records of an estimated 10,000 Canadian “PowerSellers” who generated monthly sales of more than $1,000 US through the online marketplace eBay, regardless of the fact that this information is stored in data facilities owned and controlled by another party outside of Canada. eBay Canada subsequently appealed that decision and sought a stay pending disposition of the appeal.
In dismissing the motion for a stay, the Federal Court of Appeal considered whether:
- eBay Canada had an arguable case on appeal;
- eBay Canada would suffer irreparable harm should the stay not be granted; and
- the balance of convenience lay with eBay Canada or the Minister of National Revenue.
Although the court found that eBay Canada had an arguable case, it concluded that eBay Canada had not established that it would suffer any harm from being compelled to disclose the information. On this basis, the court dismissed eBay Canada’s motion for a stay. The court also noted that the public interest, in maintaining the integrity of the Canadian income tax system, outweighed any interest eBay Canada had in not disclosing information about the PowerSellers.