Perera v. R. – TCC: Taxpayer insurance agent allowed modest amount of expense claims – no late filing penalty

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Perera v. The Queen (September 23, 2014 – 2014 TCC 280) dealt with a life insurance commission agent’s claim for expenses in 2009 and 2010; in addition he had been assessed a late filing penalty for 2010. The appellant’s initial expense claims were quite high:

[9] When filing his income tax returns for the 2009 and 2010 taxation years, Mr. Perera reported commission income in the amounts of $47,177 and $32,597, respectively, and claimed employment expenses deductions of $27,577 and $23,075, respectively. At the hearing, approximately 670 receipts were presented. He had placed the receipts into a drawer without organizing them.

[Footnote deleted]

The Crown conceded the amounts of $9,389.97 for 2009 and $9,757.15 for 2010. The court found that most of the balance of the claims were either unproven or personal in nature. It did however allow telemarketing expenses of $4,400.00 in 2009 that was proven through an adequate receipt. It also allowed car rental ($325.00 in 2009) and modest amounts of postage ($3.42 in 2009 and $42.53 in 2010).

In addition the court concluded that in light of the appellant’s state of health in 2009 and 2010 the late filing penalty for 2010 was inappropriate:

[50] Mr. Perera stated that he believed he had filed the 2010 return of income by the due date. He testified that by 2009 to 2011 he was very sick and had developed some serious health issues while employed with RBC. The Respondent has admitted that Mr. Perera was placed on long-term disability because of cognitive functions.

[52] I am satisfied that given Mr. Perera’s illness, he took reasonable steps and was duly diligent in attempting to comply with the obligation to file his 2010 return. I conclude it would be unreasonable to impose a late filing penalty.