Tax Tips

Objection and Appeal to Canada Revenue Agency How to register a formal dispute

If you disagree with an assessment, determination, or decision, you have the right to register a formal dispute.The following topics will help you get started with your dispute, including time limits for filing an objection or appeal.

If you think CRA have misinterpreted the facts or applied the law incorrectly, you have the right to object to:

income tax assessments; and determinations such as the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, the Canada child benefit, and the disability tax

credit.


Filing an objection is the first step in the formal process of resolving a dispute. The time limit for filing an objection is as follows:

If you are an individual (other than a trust), or filing for a testamentary trust, the time limit for filing an objection is whichever of the following two dates is later:one year after the date of the return’s filing deadline; or 90 days after the day we sent the notice of assessment.In every other case, including assessment of taxes in respect of over-contributions to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or tax-free savings account (TFSA), you have to file an objection within 90 days of the day we sent the notice of assessment.


Your right to a formal review


You have the right to every benefit the law allows. If you believe you have not received your full entitlements under the law, and you have been unable to reach an agreement with us on a tax or penalty matter, you have the right to a formal review of your file. In these situations, Appeals representatives who were not involved in the original decision are available to conduct a formal and impartial review.


How do we ensure our redress processes are impartial?


The CRA’s Appeals Branch deals with disputes related to assessments of income tax, excise tax, goods and services tax, and harmonized sales tax, as well as Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance rulings and assessments. The Appeals Branch operates independently in relation to other CRA branches.

Appeals Branch staff have a mandate to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the CRA by impartially reviewing previous CRA decisions. Appeals staff is trained to review the taxpayer’s and the CRA’s facts and reasons.

The role of the Appeals representative who reviews your case is to carry out a complete, professional, and impartial review. This representative reviews your case by:

interpreting acts administered by the CRA and reviewing CRA policies;considering your point of view; andwhen necessary, asking for a technical opinion from CRA experts or seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice.

Appeals Branch staff perform a preliminary review of each case to become familiar with the facts and issues. The Appeals representative may contact the taxpayer or authorized representative to discuss the issues and obtain additional documentation and clarification. The Appeals officer will also offer to provide copies of material the CRA is relying on to support its position, since good communication will facilitate the dispute resolution process. The officer then considers the information in support of both sides of all issues and applies the law and CRA policies to the facts.

The appeals officer who reviews your case will not have been involved in the original assessment, determination, or ruling.

The CRA does not charge you for a review. The non-adversarial nature of the process allows many taxpayers to represent themselves.

In certain circumstances involving Income and/or Commodity taxes the use of the settlement process may be appropriate.

If you are not satisfied with the Appeals Branch’s review, you can appeal to the appropriate Court or Tribunal. October 2016.

GTAS - LOGO 2018.png