Court Costs

Overview of Fees

There are three classes of proceedings under the general procedure and an appeal will fall into one class or the other depending on the aggregate of all amounts at issue detailed in Schedule II, Tariff A. The party shall pay court fees in accordance with the class of proceeding. The party who commences a proceeding shall pay to the Registry:

  1. in the case of a Class A proceeding - $250;
  2. in the case of a Class B proceeding - $400; and
  3. in the case of a Class C proceeding - $550.

More details regarding the various classes of proceedings are found in Schedule II, Tariff A of the Tax Court of Canada Rules (General Procedure).

The Registry will also charge a fee of 0.40$ per page for a photocopy of any document on a court file supplied by the Registrar to a party or other interested person entitled thereto.

Overview of Costs

Where the Court renders a judgment or order regarding a costs award, one party may be entitled to recover the costs associated with the proceeding from the opposing party. The Court’s authority to award costs comes from its governing statute, the Tax Court of Canada Act, RSC 1985, C T-2. The authority to award costs is discretionary, meaning the Court can choose whether or not to award costs based on the circumstances of the case. The Tax Court of Canada Act provides that the Court may make rules for regulating the pleadings, practice and procedure, which includes the awarding of costs.

The materials below set out how costs are awarded, both in the Informal and General Procedure.

Informal Procedure

The Court has an ability to award costs at any stage of the proceeding to either the Crown or the Appellant. This ability arises from both the Court’s inherent jurisdiction to regulate and to prevent the abuse of its own process and from its authority provided pursuant to sections 10 and 11 of the Tax Court of Canada Rules (Informal Procedure), SOR/90-688b.

The Court may also award disbursements. Disbursements are the specific expenses spent on preparing for the proceedings, such as filing fees.

Section 11 of the Informal Procedure Rules sets out the disbursements which may be allowed for the services of counsel:

  1. for the preparation of a notice of appeal or for advice relating to the appeal, $185;
  2. for preparing for a hearing, $250;
  3. for the conduct of a hearing, $375 for each half day or part of a half day; and
  4. for the taxation of costs, $60.

Witnesses are entitled to be paid by the party who requested their attendance, up to $75 per day plus reasonable transportation and living expenses. Expert witness costs claimed in Informal Procedures cannot exceed $300 per day.

Most costs are taxed by a taxing officer, however the Court may direct payment of costs in a fixed sum in lieu of taxed costs. An appellant whose costs are to be taxed shall file a Bill of Costs with the Registrar of the Court. A Bill of Costs sets out the expenses incurred in preparation and conducting of the hearing.

Schedule 13 of the Informal Procedure Rules provides an acceptable Bill of Costs format.

General Procedure

The Court’s authority to order costs in appeals filed under the General Procedure is found in the Tax Court of Canada Act and in the Tax Court of Canada Rules (General Procedure), SOR/90-688.

The Court may award party and party costs with or without reference to Schedule II, Tariff B and it may award a lump sum in lieu or in addition to any taxed costs. Party and party costs are intended to partially reimburse a party for legal fees associated with the proceedings. In exercising its discretionary power to award costs, the Court considers principles such as:

  1. the result of the proceeding,
  2. the amounts in issue,
  3. the importance of the issues,
  4. any offer of settlement made in writing,
  5. the volume of work,
  6. the complexity of the issues,
  7. the conduct of any party that tended to shorten or to lengthen unnecessarily the duration of the proceeding,
  8. the denial or the neglect or refusal of any party to admit anything that should have been admitted.

The Court may also consider whether any stage of the proceeding was vexatious, improper or unnecessary. If the Court decides that any of the parties either brought a claim improperly or conducted the proceedings in a vexatious manner, costs can be awarded against the vexatious litigant.

If a settlement offer has been made in a General Procedure proceeding, a successful party may be entitled to substantial indemnity costs. For example, if you make an offer of settlement and obtain a judgment as favourable as or more favourable than the terms of your offer, you will be entitled to party and party costs to the date of service of the offer and substantial indemnity costs (which means 80% of solicitor and client costs) after that date. The goal is to encourage the parties to settle in order to reduce the time and money invested in going to court. This rule on offers of settlement, however, does not apply to the Informal Procedure.

In exceptional circumstances, the Court may award costs on a solicitor and client basis. Solicitor-client costs are more severe than party and party costs and may equal up to a full reimbursement of legal fees.

Witnesses are entitled to be paid by the party who requested their attendance, up to $75 per day plus reasonable transportation and living expenses. Expert witness costs claimed in the General Procedure cannot exceed $350 per day. Fees and disbursements are set out in Schedule II of the General Procedure Rules, Schedule II, Tariff A.

Where a party is entitled to a costs award, that party may file a Notice of Appointment for Taxation of Costs (Form 155). The Registrar or taxation officer will then issue a Certificate of Costs (Form 158).