Prince – Federal Court of Appeal confirms that a CRA proposal letter is not a judicially-reviewable “decision”

Rennie JA confirmed the decision of Annis J that a CRA “proposal” letter to the taxpayer setting out proposed reassessments for his 2007 to 2016 taxation years and giving him 30 days to provide additional information and representations was not a “decision” that the Federal Court had the jurisdiction to review under the Federal Courts Act. Furthermore, CRA had subsequently reassessed the years in issue and, under ss. 152(8) and 169, such “reassessments [were] valid and binding until set aside by the Tax Court” – so that it was not relevant that, prior to the proposal letter and such reassessments, the taxpayer had requested an internal review of the Minister’s decision not to admit most of the years in question to the voluntary disclosure program.

That previous VDP request was effectively a request for potential relief from penalties and interest, and in this regard Rennie JA noted that CRA had the discretion under s. 220(3.1) to waive such amounts, with such exercise of discretion being “subject to public law scrutiny and remedies in the Federal Court” – so that there was nothing untoward about the taxpayer’s unsuccessful VDP application having been rendered completely moot.

Neal Armstrong. Summaries of Prince v. MNR, 2020 FCA 32 under Federal Courts Act, s. 18.1(3) and ITA s. 152(8).