1532099 Ontario Ltd. v. The Queen (February 13, 2020 – 2020 TCC 30, Wong J.).
Précis: This was a decision on a motion in writing to permit the sole director and officer of the taxpayer corporation to represent it on this appeal. The appeal was a general procedure GST/HST appeal. The taxpayer corporation (which had previously been represented by counsel) sought leave to have its sole director and officer, Mr. Motlagh Shirazi, represent it on the appeal. The Court found that it was not an appropriate case to permit a non-lawyer to act and directed that the taxpayer retain counsel. Costs were ordered in the cause.
Decision: The Court found that this appeal was too complex to exercise its discretion to permit a non-lawyer to act:
 If my above analysis is incorrect, then I would also conclude that the Appellant must be represented by counsel based on my consideration of the non‑exhaustive list of factors for applying subsection 30(2) of the Rules, as set out in WJZ Enterprises v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 57 at paragraph 5:
a) Whether the proposed representative is duly authorized by the corporation to act as its representative – The pleadings indicate the Mr. Shirazi is the sole director and officer, and his affidavit sworn on December 23, 2019 indicates that he is also the sole shareholder. Therefore, it appears that authorization to represent the Appellant is a relatively straightforward matter.
b) Whether the proposed representative has a connection to the corporation – The pleadings and Mr. Shirazi’s affidavit indicate that he is the Appellant’s sole director, officer, and shareholder, i.e. the present application does not seek to circumvent the Rule by hiring a non-lawyer agent with no connection to the Appellant.
c) Whether the corporation can pay for counsel – The Appellant’s motion materials include a copy of an October 28, 2019 letter to the Appellant from its former counsel in which they advise the Appellant that there are outstanding legal fees in the amount of $1,928.30. Otherwise, there is no evidence of the Appellant’s financial situation.
d) Whether the proposed representative will be required to appear as advocate and as witness – As the Appellant’s sole director and officer, it is likely that Mr. Shirazi would have to appear as both advocate and a witness.
e) Whether the proposed representative is reasonably capable of adequately representing the corporation in terms of being able to comprehend the issues, adequately bring forth evidence and deal with the law – I believe that Mr. Shirazi might be qualified to negotiate a possible resolution of this appeal prior to hearing, with the assistance of an accounting professional. However, I do not believe that he would be able to represent the Appellant in terms of adequately bringing forth evidence and dealing with the law.
f) Where the company is a small one-person corporation – The Appellant appears to be a one-person corporation.
 Paragraph 13 of the Respondent’s reply to the notice of appeal shows that the Minister of National Revenue used an indirect method to calculate the Appellant’s sales. There is also an allegation that the Appellant did not maintain proper books and records, and that there was a comingling of the Appellant’s and Mr. Shirazi’s funds. In the October 28, 2019 letter to the Appellant from its former counsel, they refer to communication issues with the Appellant.
 With respect to factor (e) above, I believe that Mr. Shirazi would have particular difficulty marshalling the evidence where the audit methodology is indirect (e.g. net worth, bank deposit analysis), while also applying the law as it pertains to the GST/HST, input tax credits, and gross negligence.
Accordingly the taxpayer was directed to retain counsel. Costs were ordered in the cause.