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FEDERAL INCOME TAX - Principles of statutory interpretation - Requirement to provide documents or information

Wednesday, June 02, 2021 @ 6:05 AM  

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Application by Zeifmans LLP for judicial review of a Requirement to provide information (RFI) issued by the Minister of National Revenue. The RFI was issued to the applicant, an accounting firm, during an audit conducted by the Canada Revenue Agency of three of the applicant’s clients. The RFI set out a long and detailed list of required information and documents for the Named Persons and entities owned, operated, controlled, or otherwise connected to the clients.

HELD: Application dismissed. The Minister reasonably relied on s. 231.2(1) of the Income Tax Act to issue the RFI without applying for judicial authorization. Neither the purpose and structure of s. 231.2 of the Income Tax Act nor the jurisprudence supported the proposition that ss. 231.2(2) and (3) had to be read as discrete requirements. There was no evidence the unnamed persons were a current investigation target so as to require judicial authorization for the RFI. The Minister made no reviewable error in issuing the RFI, which was issued within the Minister’s authority to seek information related to the administration and enforcement of the Income Tax Act. The RFI reasonably described the entities that fell within the group of unnamed persons at issue and was reasonably clear in the context of the statutory authority granted to the Minister. The Minister was not required to make inquiry beyond the information provided to her prior to issuing the RFI.

Zeifmans LLP v. Canada (Minister of National Revenue - M.N.R.), [2021] F.C.J. No. 365, Federal Court, E. Walker J., April 26, 2021. Digest No. TLD-May312021005