Objections and appeals — Frequently asked questions, forms and publications
If you do not agree with an assessment, a disallowance or a decision issued by the Ministry of Finance, there may be a simple solution to your problem. Informal discussions solve many disagreements and misunderstandings about tax and benefit program decisions. Therefore, contact the ministry first to discuss your particular situation.
If you still disagree, you do have the right to send a Notice of Objection to the Advisory, Objections, Appeals and Services Branch. The page entitled Objection and Appeal Procedures for Ontario Taxes and Programs provides complete details about the objection and appeal process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the appeals system in Ontario work?
The appeals system in Ontario includes an administrative review of Notices of Objection by the Objections and Appeals Branch and a review of Notices of Appeal by the Superior Court of Justice. The Notice of Objection process is simple, inexpensive and easily accessible to any taxpayer who does not agree with an assessment, reassessment or the disallowance of a refund claim. In considering the Notice of Objection, the Appeals Officer will review the assessing branch's files and all submissions made by the taxpayer within the context of the statutory provisions. The Appeals Officer will notify the taxpayer of the proposed action in response to the objection before the file is finalized. Most cases are resolved at the objection stage, following an exchange of information and opinions by both parties. If the taxpayer does not agree with the Minister's decision on the objection, a Notice of Appeal may be filed, which may lead to a court hearing.
How do I file a Notice of Objection?
A Notice of Objection can be filed by completing a Notice of Objection form or by writing a letter to the Director, Advisory, Objections, Appeals and Services Branch. The letter should be signed by the owner of the business or an authorized employee of the company. If a representative is appointed, the taxpayer must provide written authorization. A Notice of Objection may be completed on-line, sent by registered or regular mail, facsimile transmission or may be hand delivered to either the Advisory, Objections, Appeals and Services Branch or any other Ministry of Finance tax office.
What information do I need to provide?
The Notice of Objection must include:
- the taxpayer's name
- account or permit number
- taxation statute under which the assessment or disallowance was issued
- date and number of the assessment or disallowance
- period or transaction in question
- amount of tax or refund, and
- a clear description of each issue in dispute, fully setting out the facts and reasons for objecting to each issue.
What does it cost to file the Notice of Objection?
There is no fee to file a Notice of Objection.
Do I have to file the Notice of Objection within a specified time frame?
Under an Ontario taxation statute, you must file a Notice of Objection within 180 days (for International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) objections, within 30 days) from the day the Notice of Assessment, Notice of Reassessment or Statement of Disallowance was mailed or personally delivered to you.
Can I obtain additional time to file my Notice of Objection?
If you have a good reason for needing more than 180 days (30 days for IFTA objections) to file your Notice of Objection, you can apply to the Director of the Objections and Appeals Branch for an extension of time before the 180 days (30 days for IFTA objections) have expired. Extensions are not given for reasons such as vacation, inventory-taking or year-end timing. Further, you may apply for an extension at any time within one year from the mailing date on the Notice of Assessment or the Statement of Disallowance. However, if you apply after the 180-day period (30-day period for IFTA objections), you must be able to demonstrate that it was impossible to file within the 180-day period (30-day period for IFTA objections) and that the Notice of Objection was filed as soon as circumstances permitted. If the explanation provided is not satisfactory, no extension of time will be given and your Notice of Objection will be considered to be invalid.
How do I file a Notice of Appeal?
If you are not satisfied with the ministry's decision concerning a Notice of Objection, you may file a Notice of Appeal. The Notice of Appeal is required to be filed within 90 days from the date the ministry's decision on the Notice of Objection was mailed to you. The appeal must be filed both with the Superior Court of Justice and the Objections and Appeals Branch within that 90‑day period.
To file the Notice of Appeal with the court, you must have the Notice of Appeal hand delivered to the office of a local registrar of the court and you must pay the applicable court filing fee.
Find a list of court addresses here.
To file the copy with the Objections and Appeals Branch, you can send the Notice of Appeal by registered mail, regular mail or it can be hand delivered at 33 King Street West, 1st Floor, Oshawa ON.
Do I have to pay the amount assessed that is in dispute while the objection is under review?
Yes, payment is required even if you have filed, or intend to file, a Notice of Objection. There are no provisions in the Ontario tax statutes that allow for the suspension of payment of an amount that has been assessed, but is in dispute, pending the outcome of the Notice of Objection or Notice of Appeal process. Additional interest will be assessed on the principal liability if full payment is not received when the assessed amount is due. Taxpayers who successfully object or appeal will be paid interest on any amounts paid on an assessment, from the dates the payments were made. However, the amount refunded, including interest, will first go to reducing other tax liabilities owed to Ontario before any refund is made to you.
Can any of the tax or interest assessed be forgiven since I don't have the money to pay it?
There are no provisions in the Ontario tax statutes to allow for the reduction of the tax or interest that has been assessed because of the taxpayer's inability to pay. The Appeals Officer can only recommend a variance to the tax or penalty that has been assessed if it is his or her opinion that the amount assessed is in error due to an incorrect application of the law.
Will I be compensated for my costs if I win the objection?
No compensation for costs is granted to a taxpayer who may obtain a favourable resolution at the Notice of Objection stage. The Notice of Objection process is intended to be simple, inexpensive and easily accessible.
Our corporation has received a reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency. Do I have to file a Notice of Objection with the province of Ontario?
Some Ontario corporations tax assessments are based on Canada Revenue Agency (formerly Revenue Canada, Taxation) assessments. You do not need to file a Notice of Objection with the Ontario Objections and Appeals Branch for such designated or specified assessments if you have already filed a federal objection. Ontario will be bound by the results of any federal objection. However, if you disagree with non-designated or non-specified items in the assessment, such as capital tax, then you will need to file a separate Ontario objection.