Tax Case Counts on the Rise - How Taxpayers can Efficiently Advance Their Dispute - Part I

  • April 05, 2021
  • Lisa Watzinger


COVID-19 numbers may have begun to decrease as spring time arrives and vaccinations get underway. On the other hand, the number of tax disputes continues to rise. The growing backlog of Notices of Objections (“tax objections") and Notice of Appeal (“tax appeals”) will need to be dealt with by the Appeals branch of the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA Appeals”) and the Tax Court of Canada. Both are under pressure to quickly relieve the backlog, but with COVID-19 continuing to impact the financial situation of both taxpayers and the government, the adversarial climate may be more challenging than ever. This article explores the avenues taxpayers have to efficiently manage their tax disputes in two parts. The first part discusses whether to proceed through the CRA Appeals process. The second part will discuss the avenues available for an early resolution at the Tax Court.

CRA Appeals

Resolving tax disputes with CRA Appeals has become lengthier due to the pandemic. CRA Appeals had limited operations from March to September 2020. In describing timeliness, the CRA has indicated that there is a backlog of objections and that processing times may be longer than usual until a full resumption of all objection program activities occurs.[1]

The CRA Appeal process is far less structured than an appeal before the Tax Court. Thus, the main decision a taxpayer must make to efficiently manage their dispute is to determine whether they should resolve their objection with CRA Appeals or skip ahead and file a Notice of Appeal to the Tax Court.[2]