Skip to main content

So You Have a Tax Dispute. What Happens Now?

October 19, 2022

By: Rimo Rico, Associate, Farber Tax Law

Let’s say you were audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and you receive a Notice of Reassessment in the mail saying you have to pay additional taxes with penalties and interest. Before you take any action, take a step back and get to know what your options are. 

The only way to dispute a Notice of Reassessment is to file a specific document called a Notice of Objection within 90 days from the date of the reassessment (found on the upper right portion of that CRA document)—or potentially within one year after that 90 day period if filed with a time extension request. 

Filing a Notice of Objection 

There are strict procedural requirements for filing a Notice of Objection. Unless the proper steps are taken, you could permanently lose the right to object to the Notice of Reassessment, even if you are talking to the CRA while the deadline passes. 

A Notice of Objection is a time-sensitive matter. It is important to have an experienced tax disputes lawyer to advise on the process of filing to get it right the first time. Filing an improper or poorly drafted Notice of Objection can make matters worse and may disclose sensitive information on your tax affairs.  

After filing your dispute (either online or mailed to the address on the CRA’s T400A form), you will receive a letter from the CRA telling you that they received your objection and provide a case number for it. They will also advise that the CRA will assign your dispute to an Appeals Officer who may contact you and ask for more information about your dispute. If you are contacted by an appeals officer, make sure to ask for their name and contact information for future reference, especially if you want to work with them to resolve the matter.

What happens after you file a Notice of Objection? 

There are two important points to keep in mind.  

First, the appeals officer takes note of everything you discuss and maintains a file on your dispute. Second, tax laws and rules are often counter-intuitive (see our other post on the confusing definition of a “builder”) and it’s generally not the appeals officer’s role to explain them to you. It’s very easy to think you’re solving a tax dispute and instead find out otherwise. 

After the appeals officer reviews your dispute, the CRA could either confirm your tax liability, adjust the amount owing (through a new Notice of Reassessment), or withdraw the reassessment and decide you don’t owe anything. 

A tax dispute is not a DIY project. Instead, the best option is to consult with an experienced tax lawyer to find out what your options are. At Farber Tax Law we know that any disputes with the CRA can be complex, that’s why we specialize in tax dispute resolution, representing your best interests.

Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your tax disputes or tax matters. We’re here to help.