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Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code

Learn your rights when interacting with the Ministry of Finance.


Appeals can be made in tax matters related to notices of assessments, denied refund claims, determinations and decisions on the issuance, suspension and cancellation of permits. You can appeal a decision that has been made by the ministry provided that the legislation allows for appeals.

Contact the Ministry First

If you have questions about your assessment or why a refund claim wasn’t approved, you may wish to contact the branch that issued the notice of assessment or letter before initiating the appeal.  The branch may be able to answer questions, provide further explanation if necessary and may even assist in the resolution of your concerns.

The contact information should be on the notice or the letter otherwise, see the full list of ministry contacts.

How and When to Appeal

Appealing to the minister is your first step in the appeal process.  This step must be taken before an appeal can be filed in court.  The method and timing required for serving an appeal depends on the Act that governs the matter under appeal.

Appeals initiated under the following legislation must be served on and received by the minister within 90 days of the date of the Notice of Assessment, disallowed refund or other determination. 

  • Carbon Tax Act
  • Home Owner Grant Act
  • International Business Activity Act
  • Motor Fuel Tax Act
  • Tobacco Tax Act
  • Forest Act
  • Hotel Room Tax Act
  • Mineral Tax Act
  • Provincial Sales Tax Act (as of April 1, 2013)
  • Social Service Tax Act
  • Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act

Appeals initiated under the Property Transfer Tax Act must be mailed to the minister within 90 days of the date shown on the Notice of Assessment or on the letter denying a refund under the First Time Home Buyers' program.

Appeals initiated under Part 12 of the Income Tax Act (B.C.) in relation to the First-Time New Home Buyers' Bonus must be mailed to the minister within 90 days of the date shown on the Notice of Determination.

Appeals initiated under the following legislation must be served on the minister by registered mail within 90 days after the date of mailing of the Notice of Assessment (if applicable) or within 90 days after the date of filing the return. 

  • Corporation Capital Tax Act
  • Logging Tax Act
  • Insurance Premium Tax Act

Appeals initiated under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Royalty and Freehold Production Tax Regulation must be served on the minister by registered mail within 60 days after the decision of the collector or administrator.

Although the requirements for initiating an appeal differ slightly between the various tax Acts, you can generally appeal a Notice of Assessment, denied refund claim or other determination by writing a letter to the Minister of Finance.

  • For more information about what to include in your letter
    and where to send your letter see the bulletin 
    Appeals (GEN 002) (PDF)

Review of Your Appeal

Once the ministry receives your letter of appeal, it is reviewed to see if it meets the legislative requirements. If your appeal meets the requirements, an acknowledgement letter will be sent to you. Otherwise, a letter explaining why your appeal does not meet the requirements will be sent to you.

If your appeal is accepted for consideration, you will be provided with the name of an Appeals Officer who will handle your case and a contact number.

The Appeals Officer will contact you to:

  • discuss your case
  • explain the assessment or other decision you are appealing
  • ask for clarification of any issues that may be unclear
  • ask if you want to provide any additional information (if applicable)
  • give you the opportunity to ask questions

The time it takes for your appeal to be reviewed varies depending on the difficulty and complexity of the matter being appealed, whether additional documentation or information is required, and whether the resolution of your appeal depends on the decision of another party, like BC Assessment or Canada Revenue Agency.

Taxes and any penalties and interest assessed are payable even when an appeal has been filed. You should pay your assessment within 30 days of it being issued. Paying the assessment doesn't in any way signify you accept the assessment, and has no impact on how your appeal will be resolved.

If the assessment remains unpaid, you may be subject to collections action, and interest will continue to be added to the amount owing. If your appeal is successful, you will be credited for any overpayment plus interest.

Upon completion of the appeal review process, a recommendation will be made to the Minister.  The Minister will then review your case and make a decision to affirm the original assessment or ministry decision, allow your appeal or vary the original assessment or decision.  You will be notified of this decision in writing.

  • For more information on the review of your appeal, see the bulletin Appeals (GEN 002) (PDF)