Many are overawed by the thought of fighting with the Taxman over an assessment or reassessment with which they disagree.
There are relatively uncomplicated and cost-effective rights of appeal to which an aggrieved taxpayer can easily have recourse.
The Tax Code states that a taxpayer who objects to an assessment may, within 90 days from the date of mailing of the notice of assessment, serve on the CRA, a notice of objection setting out the reasons for the objection and the relevant facts.
Service of an objection forces the CRA to reconsider the assessment. It also usually stops collection action on the alleged tax debt.
Upon receipt of your objection, the tax official that was responsible for the issuance of the assessment must refer the matter to an appeals assessor who will re-examine it.
At this point you can present further arguments to the appeals assessor who has the authority to accept or reject your objection.
In the event that the CRA confirms the assessment, or if 180 days have elapsed since service of your notice of objection and the tax authorities have not notified you that it has vacated or confirmed the assessment, an appeal to the Tax Court of Canada can be made.
Under the Informal Procedure, this can be done by simply setting forth, in concise style, the facts and reasons why the assessment should be withdrawn and forwarding the document, in duplicate to the Tax Court at 200 Kent Street in Ottawa.
The Tax Court of Canada is independent from the CRA. Upon receipt of your Notice of Appeal, it will be charged with dealing with the matter.
Under the Informal Procedure, a taxpayer may attend before the Tax Court to argue his/her case and no, or very low, court costs are eligible in the event that his/her appeal is not allowed.
These procedures provide a potent, low-cost weapon in the hands of an aggrieved taxpayer who wants his/her day in Court.
The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. You are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained in the context of your own particular circumstances.