TD Bank – BC Court of Appeal finds that the B.C. Commissioner improperly restricted herself to applying only the published guidelines on extending a return-filing deadline
TD made an unsuccessful submission that because a taxation year ends on the very last instant of the year's last day, a B.C. provision requiring TD to file a return “within 18 months after the end of [its] taxation year” ending on October 31, 2012 was satisfied by delivering its return on May 1, 2014 rather than the previous day. (ITA s. 37(11), for instance, and the relevant federal Interpretation Act provision (respecting excluding the first day, and counting the last day, in a period) have equivalent wording to the relevant B.C. provisions.)
The B.C. authorities had refused TD’s request for a retroactive one-day extension of the filing deadline on the basis (set out in a somewhat related policy statement) that there were no “extraordinary circumstances that [were] beyond the claimant’s control, such as fire, flood, earthquake or a serious illness.” Applying Stemijon, Frankel JA stated, before remitting the extension application for reconsideration:
While it was open to the Commissioner to have regard to Ministry of Finance policy statements, she erred in treating them as the only relevant consideration. … By doing so, she fettered the broad [statutory] discretion given to her…and her decision is, therefore, unreasonable.