The federal government announced today that it is interested in receiving comments on proposals to improve the caseload management of the Tax Court of Canada. Specifically, the potential changes would:

  • Allow a taxpayer to elect to proceed by way of the Informal Procedure where the aggregate of all amounts in issue in an income tax appeal is equal to or less than $25,000 (or where a loss does not exceed $50,000).
  • Require a taxpayer to proceed by way of the General Procedure for GST/HST appeals involving an amount in dispute in excess of $50,000.
  • Allow the Tax Court of Canada to dispose of one or more issues raised in an appeal separately, so that some issues can be resolved independently from others.
  • Allow the Tax Court of Canada to hear a question affecting a group of two or more taxpayers that arises out of substantially similar transactions, and provide that the resulting judicial determination is binding across the group.

The Informal Procedure limits (i.e., $12,000 / loss not in excess of $24,000) have been unchanged since 1993. There is a genral consensus that it is now time to increase that threshold so as to facilitate greater access to the Tax Court under the Informal Procedure.

In addition, the Tax Court has, in recent years, had to deal with an increasing number of “group appeals” but has not had the ability to bind other similarly situated taxpayers. The proposed rules would give the Tax Court greater power to deal with a growing list of group appeals in a more expeditious manner.

The Department of Finance announcement is here.

The Department of Finance backgrounder is here.