Unresolved controversies in suing for negligence of tax officials: Canadian and Australasian insights and a primer for policy-maker consideration

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There have been numerous recent Canadian cases in which taxpayers have alleged negligence by Canada Revenue Agency officials. This body of rapidly evolving Canadian case law constitutes, at present, the most extensive jurisprudence in the common-law world considering the tortious liability of tax officials. It also exposes fundamental unresolved controversies that inhibit legal clarity and certainty on the limits of the right of taxpayers to sue for the negligence of tax officials. Through comparison with cases in Australia and New Zealand, this article confirms that these unresolved controversies are not unique to Canada. The author proposes a range of options for addressing these issues. Intended as a primer for policy makers’ attention and debate, these proposals are drawn from judicial and legislative approaches adopted in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and in other broadly comparable common-law jurisdictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-476
Number of pages38
JournalCanadian Tax Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Negligence
  • Tax litigation
  • Torts
  • Public policy

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