The following is a letter from Irvin Leroux, who is fighting the Canada Revenue Agency in court.
In 1996 the CRA decided to audit me. They came to my house, took my records when I wasn’t home and then told me they had accidentally shredded them after I demanded them back.
By 2001 the CRA told me I owed them $600,000 dollars in taxes.
I knew I didn’t owe them anything but without my records I was in for an uphill battle. I took them to court and after years of expensive litigation, I won. I didn’t owe them over $800,000 (what I “owed” with interest and penalties by the time this went to trial). In fact, I didn’t owe them anything.
But the damage was done.
Over the course of the litigation, the CRA caused me to lose my house, my business, my retirement savings, all of my assets and left me deep in debt to family and friends who stood by me and lent me the money to keep fighting.
I was told by my Member of Parliament that the CRA didn’t have a mechanism to compensate wronged taxpayers but if I sued them for damages they wouldn’t put up a fight and would settle out-of-court.
So I sued them for damages. But far from settling, they waged another all-out court battle with me that lasted seven more years. I did not win the damages I sought but I did win an important victory for every taxpayer.
On April 30th of this year, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that the CRA owed a “duty of care” to treat taxpayers in a non-negligent manner. This is a huge precedent. It means that taxpayers can now sue the CRA for damages if the CRA is negligent towards them.
But taxpayers will lose this new right to be treated fairly by the CRA if the CRA is successful in its appeal to have “duty of care” struck.
What happened to me could happen to you. Please support the litigation to defend the hard-won “duty of care” victory. It matters to every taxpayer in Canada.