Drag v. R. – FCA: Taxpayer unsuccessful in appeal seeking cancellation of GST penalties

Bill Innes on Current Tax Cases

http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/fca-caf/decisions/en/item/100139/index.do New Window

Drag v. Canada (December 10, 2014 – 2014 FCA 291, Dawson (Author), Webb, Near JJA).

Précis: The taxpayer applied for fairness relief from GST interest and penalties. He obtained relief from the interest but not the penalties. His judicial review application to the Federal Court was unsuccessful since the Court concluded that the Minister acted reasonably. The Federal Court of Appeal agreed and dismissed his appeal but did not award costs against the taxpayer.

Decision:  This is an appeal involving a taxpayer who had been assessed GST, interest and penalties for failing to collect GST on services. He made a fairness application and was granted interest relief but no relief on the penalties. He unsuccessfully applied to the Federal Court to review that decision. He next appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal. He was also unsuccessful in this appeal as he could not demonstrate any error in principle by the Federal Court Judge:

[3] In my view, this appeal cannot succeed for the following reasons.

[4] First, the Federal Court Judge selected the correct standard of review and made no error in his application of the reasonableness standard to the decision not to waive or cancel the penalties assessed against the appellant.

[5] Second, the Judge correctly concluded that section 281.1 of the Act does not permit the waiver or cancellation of the underlying tax. Indeed, the appellant did not seek this remedy in his Request for Taxpayer Relief.

[6] Therefore, I would dismiss the appeal. In the circumstances, I would not award costs against the appellant.