On May 19, 2020, the Minister of Justice published draft legislative proposals which may, if enacted, temporarily extend or suspend certain time limits. In general, such extensions and suspensions are premised on COVID-19 making compliance with statutory time limits difficult or impossible, or otherwise ensuring there are no unfair or undesirable effects from the pandemic.
Of particular relevance for taxpayers are the following proposals.
First, the time limits to (i) commence an appeal before the Tax Court, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal or a provincial court, (ii) seek leave from the Supreme Court of Canada, or (iii) complete any procedural step in a proceeding before one of these courts would be suspended for the period that starts on March 13, 2020 and that ends on September 13, 2020, unless a particular court chooses to shorten the suspension period.
Second, the Minister of National Revenue would be entitled to make an order extending the “normal reassessment period” defined at subsection 152(3.1) of the Income Tax Act or the period for an assessment or rebate pursuant to the subsections 398(1) and (2) of the Excise Tax Act. This order could have retroactive effect to March 13, 2020.
The draft legislative proposals and explanatory notes are available online for 10 days, to allow interested stakeholders to share their comments.