As reported in the November 22, 2010 Globe and Mail, Swiss Bank Credit Suisse is appealing an order to disclose information on unnamed taxpayers to the Federal Court of Appeal. The order was originally granted by the Federal Court of Canada upon CRA’s request. According to the article, Credit Suisse operated three private banking offices in Canada until 1998.
What makes this request interesting is CRA is asking Credit Suisse for information that is at least 12 years old. Generally, CRA only has 3 years from the date the notice of assessment is issued to reassess an individual. However, that limitation doesn’t apply in situations where the taxpayer has made any misrepresentation that is attributable to neglect, carelessness or wilful default or has committed any fraud in filing their tax return. It is almost certain that CRA would argue that the limitation doesn’t apply to any taxpayers who are identified pursuant to this order.
The voluntary disclosure process is likely available to any taxpayer who may be identified if the appeal is denied. When CRA asked eBay for its records regarding Canadian PowerSellers, the PowerSellers were able to file voluntary disclosures as long as they did not have any other CRA contact. It is likely that that argument will apply here.