March 27, 2020 DOWNLOAD PDF

COVID-19 Tax Update

Original Newsletter(s) this article was published in: Blaneys on Business: March 2020

The CRA is offering flexibility in audits, appeals and collections in wake of COVID-19 outbreak and the Tax Court of Canada, Federal Court and Supreme Court have pushed back deadlines.

Direct financial support and tax flexibility measures were brought in to law by the Canadian federal government on March 25, 2020, under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act. In relation to these measures, it is important to note the following information with respect to Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA") objections & appeals, audits, and collections:

Objections and Appeals



  • All collection activity in relation to new debts is suspended until further notice. Flexible payment arrangements will be made available.
  • Taxpayers may submit a request using Form RC4288, Request for Taxpayer Relief to cancel interest and penalties if they are prevented from:
    • making a payment when due;
    • complying with a tax obligation due to circumstances beyond their control; or
    • filing a return on time.
  • On a case-by-case basis, payment arrangements will be made available if you are unable to pay:
    • your taxes;
    • Canada Student Loans;
    • child and family benefit payments; or
    • other government program overpayments.
  • Pre-existing situations will also be addressed on a case-by-case basis with regard to reducing financial hardship.

In Addition to the CRA flexibility measures undertaken during these times, both the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada have modified deadlines and put in place other flexibility measures.

Federal Court

The federal court has listed the following exceptions to the provisions noted above:

  • Urgent matters; and
  • Matters that must proceed due to exceptional reasons.

In this regard, the Court will determine what constitutes “urgent” and “exceptional” on a case-by-case basis. Matters to which delay is likely to cause hardship or substantial financial consequences may be considered “urgent” or “exceptional.”


  • Parties are prompted to provide the Judicial Administrator with dates of non-availability, in respect of the rescheduling of adjourned hearings, between May 1, 2020 and May 15, 2020.

Timeline Suspensions

Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”)

The SCC has released the following directions:

The author would like to acknowledge and thank articling student Antoine Killin for his contributions to this article.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide information and comment, in a general fashion, about recent cases and related practice points of interest. The information and views expressed are not intended to provide legal advice. For specific legal advice, please contact us.