There is no fee to file an appeal under the informal procedure and there is also no need for a corporation to have a lawyer as a representative. Many litigants choose to self-represent, while others have their accountant or lawyer represent them.
Once the notice of appeal has been filed with the court, the taxpayer will receive an acknowledgement of receipt. Soon thereafter the “reply” to the notice of appeal will be sent to the taxpayer from the DOJ counsel. The reply sets out the CRA’s case and according to rule 6(1) of the Tax Court of Canada Rules (informal procedure), the reply will include the following elements:
- Any facts that are admitted (they usually admit very few facts presented by the taxpayer)
- The facts that are denied (they usually disagree with most of the facts)
- Any facts of which the respondent has no knowledge and puts in issue
- The findings or assumptions of fact made by the Minister when making the assessment.
- Any other material facts
- The issues to be decided
- The statutory provisions relied on
- The reasons the respondent intends to rely on
- Relief sought
Following the receipt of the reply, the taxpayer may choose to provide the DOJ lawyer with a book of documents outlining their evidence, although it is not necessary. It may seem counterintuitive to provide all of one’s evidence right away, but in fact it will increase the chances of an early settlement of the case. Once the DOJ has all the documents, I recommend that all appellants (taxpayers) or their representatives make a concerted effort to settle the case through meaningful dialogue with the DOJ lawyer. There is plenty of time to come to a settlement as the court typically issues a Notice of Hearing six months after the reply is filed. This Notice of Hearing advises the parties of the time and place for the hearing of the matter.
Being simpler cases, and not precedent setting, typically, informal case decisions are often rendered by the judge at the end of the day and parties do not have to always wait lengthy periods of time for a written judgment.
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