The Canada Revenue Agency (the Canadian income tax department, "CRA") released new guidelines for the voluntary disclosure program (tax amnesty) on October 22, 2007. The rules have become more restrictive in some areas, especially with respect to CRA actions with respect to a related party and enforcement actions by other authorities.

In the case of The Queen v MacLean [2007] B.C.J. No. 1844, the taxpayer who was the executrix of her mother’s estate was acquitted of charges of failing to file returns for her late mother on the basis that she exercised due diligence in relying on advice of a lawyer, bookkeeper and accountant.

In the recent Tax Court of Canada decision in Yates v The Queen 2007 TCC 498 the court affirmed that an assessment for transfers between spouses under subsection 160(1) of the Income Tax Act does not apply to payments by a spouse for reasonable living expenses of the family.

The Canada Revenue Agency has won an order in the Federal Court of Canada requiring eBay Canada to turn over the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all high-volume sellers. EBay sellers who have not reported their online income should consider making a voluntary disclosure (tax amnesty) application before being approached by CRA.

In the recent Tax Court of Canada decision in Copthorne Holdings Ltd. v The Queen 2002-1316(IT)G the court held that a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) assessment under section 245 of the Income Tax Act cannot give rise to penalties for non-compliance with the technical sections of the Act.

The legal representative of a deceased taxpayer is required to obtain a clearance certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency (the Canadian income tax department, "CRA") before distributing any of the deceased person's property to the heirs. Note that the legal representative can be held personally liable for paying the deceased person's tax liability if such a clearance certificate is not obtained. The legal representative can reasonably expect to be asked by CRA to provide a copy of the will, if such a will exists and has not already been submitted, when applying for the clearance certificate.