Canada: Deadline for “fairness relief” is 31 December 2020

Canada: Deadline for “fairness relief” is 31 December

Taxpayers in Canada are reminded that they have until 31 December 2020 to file a “fairness relief” request relating to 2010.


The 31 December 2020 deadline applies to relief requests relating to the 2010 tax year, any reporting period that ended during the 2010 calendar year, and any interest that accrued during the 2010 calendar year for any tax year or reporting period.

KPMG observation

Taxpayers may want to consider making a protective request for potential relief at any stage in a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) assessment or reassessment process (e.g., when a taxpayer requests an adjustment, or at the audit defense or notice of objection stages) to avoid missing the 10-year deadline.


With respect to income tax, the taxpayer relief provisions give the CRA the discretion to:

  • Cancel or waive penalties and interest when taxpayers are unable to meet their tax obligations due to circumstances beyond their control
  • Accept certain late-filed, amended or revoked income tax elections
  • Issue income tax refunds or reduce income tax payable beyond the normal three-year reassessment period (only for individuals and testamentary trusts; starting in 2016, graduated-rate estates only)

These provisions only apply to tax years that ended within the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the calendar year in which a request is made.

The CRA also has the discretion to cancel or waive interest and certain penalties under the taxpayer relief provisions regarding excise tax. This discretion is similarly limited to reporting periods that ended within the last 10 calendar years before the year in which a request is made.

Read a November 2020 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Canada

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