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Investigations by Revenue Canada
194 Appealing a Canada Revenue Agency decision If you disagree with an assessment or reassessment of your tax return by Canada Revenue Agency, and you want to appeal, you should consult a lawyer. In simple cases, you may be able to make an appeal on your own, although you may still want to consult a lawyer for advice.
- First step to appealing a decisionIf you disagree with an assessment or reassessment, you should first contact the General Inquiries line of Canada Revenue Agency to discuss the matter with a representative. If the matter is not resolved, you can object to the assessment or reassessment by writing to the Assistant Director of Appeals at your local Canada Revenue Agency office or tax centre. The letter should outline all the reasons why you object to Canada Revenue Agency's assessment.
- Formally objecting to a decisionObjections must be received within 90 days from the date the Notice of Assessment or Reassessment was written. However, individual taxpayers may be able to file an objection within one year of filing a return even if the 90 day period has passed. You should call Canada Revenue Agency to determine your deadline for appealing.
Once your objection has been received, an independent review will take place and you will usually be able to present information about your objection to an appeals officer who will make a decision.
- Appealing to the Tax Court of CanadaIf you do not agree with the appeals officer's decision, you have the right to appeal to the Tax Court of Canada within 90 days.
There are two ways to make an appeal to the Tax Court: an informal procedure and a general procedure. The type of procedure you use will depend on the amount of money in dispute.
If you choose the informal procedure, you do not require a lawyer, although some people are represented by other professionals such as accountants. Generally, decisions made through the informal procedure are final and you have no right to an appeal.
The general procedure is a formal trial before a judge. Most people who go through the general procedure are represented by a lawyer. Decisions made in a general procedure may be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court of Canada.
There are formal documents that must be filled out in order to make an appeal through either the informal or general procedure. For information on how to make an appeal, you can contact Canada Revenue Agency or consult a lawyer.
- How long should you keep your tax records?Generally, it is recommended that you keep records for at least seven years. The tax authorities can review and reassess your income tax returns for the previous three years and, in some cases even farther back.
Canada Revenue Agency can also arbitrarily assess or guess your income if you have not kept all returns and supporting documentation.
For more information about tax laws, refer to other sections of Legal Line© .