Jan 26th, 2023
Aug 4th, 2020
By Philippe Brunelle
Recently, certain changes have been made in the context of tax and QST litigation before the Court of Québec. Indeed, the act to amend the Tax Administration Act to increase eligibility thresholds for appeals before the Small Claims Division, originally introduced as “Projet de loi 699” in 2017, took a further step forward with the passage and assent on March 17 of the Act respecting mainly the implementation of certain provisions of the Budget Speeches of 17 March 2016, 28 March 2017, 27 March 2018 and 21 March 2019, SQ 2020, c 5.
Although the majority of the provisions of the Act come into force on March 17, 2020, section 245 provides that certain provisions, including those relating to appeals before the Small Claims Division in tax matters, will come into force on a date to be fixed by the government. The date has yet to be determined.
Thus, as soon as these amendments come into force, the Small Claims Division process will be available to individuals, certain corporations, trusts, and partnerships for much larger amounts than before.
Broadly speaking, a taxpayer who is assessed a maximum of $45,000 plus penalties and interest for three taxation years and/or a maximum QST amount of $15,000 plus penalties and interest will be allowed to represent himself or herself alone before the Small Claims Division in a simplified and rapid process.
This amount of $45,000 plus penalties and interest can even be increased if statute-barred years are assessed due to a waiver of the three years limitation period, in which case the amount at issue before the small claims division could theoretically exceed $100,000.
This will be a major change in tax and QST litigation before the Court of Québec.
Recognizing that some clients will want to use this process, Spiegel Sohmer has set up a new division within its Tax Practice Group to assist clients who decide to use this simplified and rapid process. This new division aims to offer adapted services: assistance in the preparation of the file to be filed before the Court of Québec, assistance in the preparation of the mediation with Revenu Québec and assistance in the preparation of the hearing on the merits before a judge of the Court of Québec. Thus, even if a taxpayer represents herself or himself alone, he will nevertheless be able to benefit from the support of Spiegel Sohmer's tax specialists who make up this new division.
Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer at Spiegel Sohmer for more information.