Burg Properties v. R. – FCA: Taxpayer’s attempt to appeal reassessments arising out of a settlement dismissed

Bill Innes on Current Tax Cases

http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/fca-caf/decisions/en/item/73353/index.do New Window

Burg Properties Ltd. v. Canada (June 10, 2014 – 2014 TCC 154) was an appeal from a decision of the Tax Court that quashed income tax and GST appeals of the taxpayer. The appeals arose out of a settlement that the taxpayer had entered into with CRA and the taxpayer contended that the reassessments under appeal did not live up to the terms of that settlement. The Federal Court of Appeal made short work of the appeal:

[7] We are of the view that this appeal must fail for the following reasons.

[8] First, on this appeal the appellant largely reargued the merits of his position. However, as explained to its counsel, it is not the role of this Court to re-weigh evidence or reconsider submissions. We are confined to searching for an error of fact, mixed fact and law or error of law that warrants intervention in accordance with the standards articulated in Housen v. Nikolaisen, 2002 SCC 33, [2002] 2 S.C.R. 235.

[9] The appellant failed to establish any such error.

[10] Second, the letter that accompanied the settlement agreement stated:

We have completed our review of the above Notices of Objection. As a result of our review, we are prepared to offer the following settlement offer without prejudice with respect to the reassessments of the corporate income tax returns […] and the GST returns […].

[11] This expressly advised the appellant that, if accepted, the adjustments would be applied to the reassessments which resulted from the audit and which were the subject of notices of objection.

[12] Third, the terms of the waiver provide:

I will waive any right of objection or appeal in respect of any and all issues relating to the above Notices of (Re)Assessments if Canada Revenue Agency reassesses the income tax returns and the GST returns as follows:

[13] Again, this clearly advised the appellant that the adjustments would be applied to the amounts set out in the notices of reassessment.

[14] Fourth, the terms of the settlement agreement included the cancellation of gross negligence penalties. Such penalties were imposed in the reassessments that gave rise to the notices of objection, not in the appellant’s amended tax returns.

[15] Finally, section 152 of the Income Tax Act and section 299 of the Excise Tax Act provide that the Minister is not bound by any return provided by a taxpayer and that assessments, subject to being vacated or reassessed, are deemed to be valid and binding. In the light of this statutory regime there is no reason to believe that the Minister would enter into a settlement agreement that varied a non-binding tax return when she had already made a reassessment which was valid and binding on issuance.

[16] It follows that the Judge made no error when he quashed the appeals.

As a result the appeal was dismissed with costs.