Les immeubles Caris v. R. - TCC: Court grants extension of time to file GST notices of objection

Les immeubles Caris v. R. - TCC:  Court grants extension of time to file GST notices of objection


Les immeubles Caris Ltée v. The Queen (October 11, 2016 – 2016 TCC 222, D’Auray J.).

Précis:  The taxpayer was involved in a complex and lengthy series of GST audits by Agence du Revenu du Québec (the ARQ) (the factual background occupies some 50 paragraphs of the Tax Court’s 80 paragraph decision).  They failed to file Notices of Objection within the statutory limits and applied to ARQ for an extension, which was denied.  They then applied to the Tax Court for an extension, which was allowed.  This was clearly a case of simple stubbornness on the part of ARQ since, as Justice D’Auray illustrates, there is ample precedent for granting extensions in similar circumstances.

Decision:  The nub of this decision is found in three paragraphs:

[72]        I am of the opinion that the applicant always had the intention of objecting to all of the GST assessments. The incomprehension of the nature of the assessments at issue, due to the confusion created by the numerous explanations given in the notices of assessment and the proposed assessment, prevented the applicant from objecting within the appropriate timeframe, the applicant having been persuaded that it would be better to object once the "final assessments" had been issued.

[77]        I find that, given the particular circumstances of this case, it is fair and equitable to allow the applicant’s application for the following reasons:

a)       The applicant was in constant contact with the ARQ between August 2014 and December 2014.

b)      The fairness and equity of the judicial system argues in favour of the applicant’s position.

c)       The interest of justice orders that the applicant be allowed to be heard on the merits of the case.

d)      The rebate amounts claimed are significant.

e)       Whenever there is doubt, the parties’ rights should be safeguarded, which translates in the case at issue into holding a debate on the merits.

[78]        I am also of the opinion that the application was made as soon as the circumstances allowed, for the following reasons:

a)       The applicant showed that, upon receipt of the notices of assessment dated December 10, 2014, it was still unaware of the nature of the assessments and of how the property rebate applications had been processed.

b)      It was seemingly upon receipt of the May 27, 2015, objection decision that the applicant realized there was a possible error with its file.

c)       It was around this date that the applicant became aware of its error, without fully understanding the magnitude of it. In this regard, the applicant’s application for extension of time, filed on June 17, 2015, shows incomprehension with regard to the state of the assessments and a desire to rectify the situation.

[Footnote omitted]

Accordingly the application was allowed and the extension sought granted.