New Rules for Contestations in Tax Matters before the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec
On January 1, 2021, new rules came into effect for contestations in tax matters before the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec. Under them:
- The minimums for filing a contestation are increased. For example, a contestation can be filed with the Small Claims Division to reduce, by up to $15,000 (excluding applicable interest and penalties), the amount of income tax payable shown on a notice of assessment. Prior to January 1, 2021, the minimum was $4,000.
- Persons other than individuals can file a contestation with the Small Claims Division if they had 10 or fewer employees throughout the 12 months preceding the day on which the contestation was filed.
- Disputes can be submitted to mediation at no additional cost if the parties consent.
- Individuals who are unable to represent themselves because of some encumbrance can be represented for free by their spouse or by a relative, a friend or a person connected by marriage or civil union.
- Revenu Québec has 90 days from the date the office of the Small Claims Division receives a contestation to file with the office and notify to the person a memorandum setting out the grounds of defence and the exhibits in support of [the contentions of] the defence. Revenu Québec must also specify whether it intends to submit the dispute to mediation.
- The court can take the case management measures it sees fit at any time in the course of the proceeding.
Many disputes are caused by miscommunication or a lack of information. That is why we encourage you to contact us or the person named on the document you received from us so that we can discuss your file before you exercise your recourse. Most problems can be solved in writing or over the phone. If, after contacting us, you are still are not satisfied with how your file is being handled, you can exercise your recourse options, making sure to respect the legal deadlines. For more about your recourse options, see IN-106-V, Recourse for Your Tax-Related Problems.