Tax Court of Canada


Income tax

Administration and enforcement

Minister awarded costs after taxpayer failing to appear at status hearing

Taxpayer’s appeal from reassessments was dismissed due to his failure to appear at status hearing. Taxpayer’s application to set aside dismissal was dismissed. Costs submissions received. Minister awarded costs in amount of $19,689. Minister was entirely successful in application, relating to significant amount of money as underlying appeal involved approximately $1.165 million. Amount of work involved in application was not significant and issues were neither complex nor of any broader importance. Taxpayer was responsible both for delaying hearing of application and for unnecessarily extending hearing itself. Taxpayer’s conduct during application, seeking repeated adjournments shortly before scheduling hearing, gave impression of intentional delay and abuse of court’s goodwill. Taxpayer’s conduct during underlying appeal strongly reinforced impression of intentional delay, as everything about his conduct screamed of someone who desperately wanted to delay resolving tax problem. Taxpayer’s lack of communication with counsel led to lack of preparation that extended duration of proceedings. Four-day hearing of this application was extraordinarily long, as such applications normally took no more than one day. Taxpayer’s conduct significantly affected duration of proceedings. Taxpayer was not credible and, as great deal of time was wasted proving that he had received communications that he denied receiving, hearing would have been much quicker if he had admitted truth. Considering all factors and particularly taxpayer’s conduct, award of costs in excess of tariff was appropriate. Figure proposed by Minister was entirely reasonable.

Wolsey v. R. (2017), 2017 CarswellNat 688, 2017 TCC 34, David E. Graham J. (T.C.C. [General Procedure]); additional reasons (2016), 2016 CarswellNat 5312, 2016 TCC 236, David E. Graham J. (T.C.C. [General Procedure]).

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