Questions? Call 416-367-4222

The Tax Court of Canada’s New Fast Track Settlement Procedure Post the COVID-19 Pandemic – Canadian Tax Lawyer Analysis

Introduction – The tax Fast Track Settlement Procedure & Rules

On June 4, 2020, during a virtual meeting with the Tax Court of Canada Bench and Bar Liaison Committee, the Tax Court of Canada introduced its new, yet temporary, “fast track settlement conference system”. This new “fast track settlement conference system” aims to reduce the backlog of appeals that have accumulated since March 16, 2020 due to the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown of the Tax Court of Canada. The key features of the new “fast track settlement conference system” are:

  • it will serve as a temporary system concerning general procedure appeals only;
  • it will be available only if both parties (e.g., the Canadian tax lawyer representing the taxpayer and the Canadian tax lawyer representing the Canada Revenue Agency) agree to proceed by way of the fast track settlement conference system;
  • parties who are interested in proceeding by way of the fast track settlement conference system will file a joint conference request brief in which they will include their pleadings, and in which they will address key issues, their respective position, the basis for their position and the dollar amount of tax at issue;
  • a Tax Court of Canada judge will determine whether (or not) the tax appeal is suitable to proceed by way of the fast track settlement conference system;
  • where the tax appeal is considered suitable to proceed by way of the fast track settlement conference system, a Tax Court of Canada judge will contact the parties, present them with the date for the conference, indicate who is required to attend the conference and make any requests deemed necessary for the conference to proceed efficiently;
  • the Tax Court of Canada judge will also determine whether the conference will be held virtually or in person in Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal;
  • the fast track settlement conferences will take place in October and November 2020; and
  • if the matter fails to settle by way of the fast track settlement conference system, the judge who presides conference will not preside over the tax trial of same matter.
See also
Proposed Changes to Tax Limit Periods Due to Covid-19 | Rotfleisch & Samulovitch PC

The Tax Court of Canada stated that it will release further information regarding the tax fast track settlement conference system in the end of June and that it will begin accepting requests under this new system as of late July. The Tax Court of Canada will also provide subsequent information concerning its plan to resume operations to parties requesting to resolve their tax disputes under the new tax fast track settlement conference system.

The Benefits & Concerns Associated with the tax Fast Track Settlement Procedure

The new “fast track settlement conference system” reflects the Tax Court of Canada’s effort in reducing the number of appeals that were postponed due to the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic and managing the large volume of submissions filed online during its closure as a result of this pandemic. This new “fast track settlement conference system” presents Canadian tax lawyer representing the taxpayers and the Canadian tax lawyer representing the Canada Revenue Agency (the “CRA”) with an opportunity to expedite the process for resolving tax disputes and perhaps saving time and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

However, it is not clear how efficient this new system will be considering the CRA has its own backlog of work that it will have to address. On the one hand, it is likely that the Canadian tax lawyer representing the CRA, along with Canadian tax lawyer representing the taxpayers, will be interested in resolving tax disputes by way of the new “fast track settlement conference system” without the need to schedule a hearing. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see how the CRA will leverage its use of the new “fast track settlement conference system” while addressing its own backlog. With just over one week left in the month of June, many legal practitioners and taxpayers are anticipating the Tax Court of Canada’s release of subsequent information pertaining to the new “fast track settlement conference system”.

See also
Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit & Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

There are, however, clear issues associated with the new “fast track settlement conference system”. Both parties, the Canadian tax lawyer representing the taxpayer and the Canadian tax lawyer representing the CRA, may not agree to proceed by way of the fast track settlement conference system and in which case they will be forced to schedule a tax court trial. In addition, if a Tax Court of Canada Judge determines that the settlement conference must be held in person, the conference locations are limited to Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal. In this context, that taxpayer may not have the financial means to fund travel expenses and accommodations to the conference. As such, this new “fast track settlement conference system” could create financial burdens for taxpayers. Further, the “fast track settlement conference system” is only a temporary solution to the court’s backlog issue and conferences are only set to take place in October and November 2020. These two months may not be sufficient to address the court’s backlog issue, which is the basis  on which this new system is built, and to allow all appeals equal opportunity to proceed by way of the “fast track settlement conference system”. As such, interested parties may be turned away from the program if they are unable to attend the conference during October and November or the Tax Court of Canada may be forced to reject parties from participating in the “fast track settlement conference system” if there is a backlog in the new system itself.

Tax Tips – Fast Track Settlement Conference System

If you have questions concerning the Tax Court of Canada’s “fast track settlement conference system” or if you are a party interested in resolving a tax dispute by way of the fast track settlement conference system, please contact our tax law office to speak with one of our experienced Certified Specialist in Taxation Canadian tax lawyers.

Disclaimer:

"This article provides information of a general nature only. It is only current at the posting date. It is not updated and it may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor can it or should it be relied upon. All tax situations are specific to their facts and will differ from the situations in the articles. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer."

Get your CRA tax issue solved


Address: Rotfleisch & Samulovitch P.C.
2822 Danforth Avenue Toronto, Ontario M4C 1M1

Tax Court’s Fast Track Settlement Conference System | Rotfleisch & Samulovitch PC
Expanded Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit – A Toronto Tax Lawyer Analysis
Targeted COVID-19 Business Support Measures – Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP), the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HBRP) and the Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) – A Canadian Tax Lawyer Tax Guide
Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP): Toronto Tax Lawyer's Guide
Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP): Toronto Tax Lawyer’s Guide
Self-Employed May Not Repay CERB: Canadian Tax Lawyer Guide
Self-Employed May Not Repay CERB: Canadian Tax Lawyer Guide
Tax Measures Due To COVID-19
Ontario COVID-19 Business Support Grants: Ontario Tax Lawyer Guide
Ontario COVID-19 Business Support Grants: Ontario Tax Lawyer Guide
Covid-tax-page
CRA Issues T4A Slips to COVID-19 CERB Recipients: Tax Guidance
Self-Employed Canadians Don't Have To Repay CERB
Self-Employed Canadians Don’t Have To Repay CERB