Harrison – Federal Court rejects the published CRA position that disputing a tax debt in an objection or appeal constitutes an acknowledgement of the debt

Under ss. 222(5) and (6)(b), the 10-year limitation period for the Minister to collect an amount payable by the taxpayer is restarted if the taxpayer “makes a written acknowledgement of the tax debt.” The published CRA position is that the filing of a notice of objection or an appeal to the Tax Court is an acknowledgment of the related tax debt. In rejecting this position as being unreasonable, Strickland J stated that “the plain meaning of ‘acknowledgment’ requires an admission or confirmation by the person making the acknowledgment of the thing alleged, be it an admission of liability for damages, blame, responsibility or liability for a tax debt,” whereas here the taxpayer in her Notice of Appeal instead “dispute[d] the validity of the amounts assessed.”

Neal Armstrong. Summaries of Harrison v. Canada (National Revenue), 2020 FC 772 under s. 222(6)(b) and s. 222(8)(a).