Matter did not rise to level of ‘truly exceptional’

Tax - Income Tax - Administration and Enforcement

United States, which taxed its citizens on worldwide income regardless of residence, enacted Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to, among other things, require non-American financial institutions to directly report account information for customers who might be “U.S. persons” . Canadian government’s negotiations with United States led to intergovernmental agreement, implemented by Canada-United States Enhanced Tax Information Exchange Agreement Implementation Act, under which CRA acted as intermediary between Canadian financial institutions and Internal Revenue Service. Plaintiffs’ action to challenge legality and constitutionality of Act was dismissed. Costs submissions received, with plaintiffs seeking award in their favour as public interest litigants despite defendants’ success. No costs awarded. Defendants had been successful throughout action, including two summary trials. Issues were complex and required significant work by both sides. Both sides contributed to overall length of action and resources expended. Only one of plaintiffs established public interest standard, and even she was not directly affected yet by impugned provisions of Act. Matter did not rise to level of being “truly exceptional”. Plaintiffs had not demonstrated that it would not have been possible to effectively pursue litigation in question with private funding they had in place.

Deegan v. Canada (Attorney General) (2019), 2019 CarswellNat 4882, 2019 FC 1176, Janet M. Fuhrer J. (F.C.); additional reasons (2019), 2019 CarswellNat 3474, 2019 CarswellNat 3475, 2019 FC 960, 2019 CF 960, Anne L. Mactavish J. (F.C.).

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