John Sorensen, “Credibility and an Assessment’s Mailing”, Canadian Tax Highlights 25:1 (January 2017) comments on Mpamugo (2016 TCC 215). The case summarizes four steps for dealing with disputes over whether and when a notice was mailed:
- The taxpayer must assert that the assessment was not sent or not sent to the proper address.
- The minister must lead sufficient evidence to prove on a balance of probabilities that the assessment was sent and sent to the proper address.
- If the minister can prove that the assessment was sent, the sending date is presumed to have been the date that appears on the face of the assessment; however, the presumption may be rebutted if the taxpayer can prove that the assessment was sent on a different date.
- When the sending date is established, the assessment is not only deemed sent on that date but also deemed received on the same date; the deemed receipt is not rebuttable.
The Court in Mpamugo held that the taxpayer’s credibility became relevant only after the Minister had met the onus imposed by the taxpayer’s assertion in step 1 above.