Morrison v. R. - FCA: Lead case appellant not entitled to information about all others

Morrison v. R. - FCA:  Lead case appellant not entitled to information about all others

Morrison v. Canada (October 20, 2016 – 2016 FCA 256, Nadon, Rennie, Woods (author) JJ. A.).

Précis:  Mr. Morrison was one of the lead appellants in a charitable tax shelter case.  He unsuccessfully sought information about all of the other tax shelter participants in a motion before the Tax Court.  He appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal and was similarly unsuccessful.  His appeal was dismissed with costs.

Decision:   The Morrison Tax Court decision was blogged earlier on this site.  The taxpayer’s appeal was one of a number of test cases dealing with donations of pharmaceuticals under tax shelter programs described as the CHT and CGI Donation Programs.  In this motion the taxpayer claimed three forms of relief:

[4]             The relief sought by the Appellant involves three main issues; (1) the disclosure of the names and addresses of third-party taxpayers who are only at the objections stage of their process; (2) the release of transcripts of discovery conducted against the Respondent by other appellants; and (3) a delay in the date of discovery of the Appellant. ...

The first head of relief was denied on the basis of taxpayer confidentiality and the second head was denied on the basis of the implied undertaking rule.  Finally as the taxpayer failed to succeed on the first two grounds there was no basis for a further delay of his discovery.

The Federal Court of appeal dismissed his appeal, with costs, for essentially the same reasons as the Tax Court Judge:

[15]           In an appeal to the Tax Court, a taxpayer is entitled to information from the Crown only if it is relevant to the taxpayer’s appeal (The Queen v. 9005-6342 Québec Inc., 2011 FCA 196; 2011 G.T.C. 2037). In this case, the motions judge determined that the contact information sought by Mr. Morrison was not relevant to his appeals (paragraph 11). Since there is no reason to disturb this finding, Mr. Morrison has no entitlement to the contact information.

[16]           Second, Mr. Morrison’s reliance on the lead case rule is misplaced. Section 146.1 of the Rules is intended to assist in the case management of groups of similar appeals in the Tax Court. The provision has no application to taxpayers who have outstanding objections with the CRA, which reflects the fact that the Tax Court’s jurisdiction is limited to appeals in that Court.

[17]           Accordingly, I agree with the disposition of the motion by the motions judge and would dismiss this appeal with costs.