Individual taxpayers are permitted to represent themselves in Tax Court disputes with some exceptions for disputes being heard under the general procedure. Under the general procedure, unless the tax court allows otherwise, a taxpayer who is either not an individual or is an individual but does not have the capacity to represent themselves must be represented by legal counsel. In informal procedure, the taxpayer can also be represented by an agent such as an accountant. Note that accountants are not trained to represent taxpayers in tax court.
However, taxpayers who choose to represent themselves, or to be represented by an agent, should consider having one of our experienced Canadian tax litigation lawyers review their case for settlement offer opportunities, and review any settlement offers made by the Canada Revenue Agency before settling. A legal opinion can ensure the taxpayer’s offer is suitably principled and advantageous to the taxpayer’s case, or identify any errors or deficiencies in a Canada Revenue Agency settlement offer.
Taxpayers who choose to represent themselves, or to be represented by an agent because of concerns over legal costs should consider this option as well. An experienced Canadian tax litigation lawyer can be brought in on a limited engagement to deal with settlement review without being involved in the dispute as a whole. This will allow the taxpayer to control costs while still receiving legal tax advice which could assist in resolving the dispute in a timely and advantageous manner.