Personalized Services

Your taxes are personal, your situation is unique.  I do a detailed, custom and personalized analysis of your records, tax filings, transactions, and the CRA proposals or assessments, and most importantly, the dollars involved.  Afterall, the actions and defence appropriate for a $150,000 or more tax assessment are not the same as for a $15,000 tax assessment.  I review your situation with you in mind - your facts and your circumstances.  I tell you what alternatives are available, advise you as to my best estimate of costs based on what we know at the time, and make a recommendation for you, tailored to you - but the choice is yours. After all, its your money!

CRA Audits

The best time to deal with a reassessment by the CRA is before it is issued.  It is often easiest to defeat a proposed assessment before the CRA has fixed its postion on the issues, and while misunderstandings of facts and circumstances can be most easily resolved, and it is by far the least expensive approach if a reassessment can be stopped before it is issued.  I will deal with the Canada Revenue Agency on your behalf, including reviewing CRA questions and proposals and submitting documents and arguments which may be appropriate.  If necessary, I will attempt to negotiate with the CRA (after all, it takes two to negotiate, and sometimes the CRA simply won't) in an effort to settle issues at the appropriate stage in order to minimize the potential cost of any assessment by the CRA as well as your costs of pursuing appeals.

I do not represent individuals charged with tax evasion. Tax evasion is a criminal offence and proper representation requires an experienced criminal lawyer.  I will be happy to refer you to criminal counsel experienced in tax evasion cases.

Administrative Appeals (Notices of Objection)

If an acceptable settlement cannot be reached at the audit stage, an appeal, called a Notice of Objection, must be filed in order to permit further documents, arguments and submissions to be made to the CRA Appeals Division.  This is a CRA internal administrative level appeal in order to ensure that CRA practices and policies have been appropriately applied, and to consider new facts and documents which may support your position, or to consider new legal arguments which may be made.  

The time limit for filing a notice of objection is short - if it is missed you will lose your right to appeal and the tax debt assessed by the CRA will become final.  Contact me as soon as possible if you have been reassessed and you believe the assessment is wrong.  A notice of objection is an essential prerequisite to filing an appeal to the Tax Court.

Court Appeals

While the majority of disputes are resolved at the audit or notice of objection stage, an acceptable outcome often cannot be achieved.  In such cases a further appeal  to the Tax Court of Canada may be appropriate.  The time limit for filing a court appeal is limited and if it is missed the tax debt assessed by the CRA will become final.

The Tax Court of Canada is a federal court which is independent of the CRA.  In the event the issue cannot be settled during discussions with the Department of Justice, your case will be heard by a judge of the Tax Court in an open hearing.  You will give evidence, along with any other relevant witnesses, and the judge will consider all relevant documents presented to the Court in evidence. I will prepare and file the required Notice of Appeal on your behalf, and will represent you throughout the appeal process, including at examinations for discovery and at the hearings of the Tax Court.  Throughout the appeal process I will endeavour to reach an acceptable settlement for you through discussions with the Department of Justice, which acts as legal counsel to the CRA.

When the Tax Court issues its decision, both you and the CRA have an opportunity to file a further appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal.  If your appeal to the Tax Court is not successful, I will analyse the decision of the Court and discuss with you your right to appeal and provide my view of the potential for a successful appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, as well as the likely range of costs.  If you decide to appeal further, I will file a Notice of Appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal.  If you do win at the Tax Court and the CRA decides to appeal, I will represent you at the Federal Court of Appeal to defend against the CRA appeal of the Tax Court decision.

Voluntary Disclosures

The CRA Voluntary Disclosure programme (click here for my summary and for the CRA's latest bulletin outlining the programme click here) is a partial tax amnesty programme designed to allow taxpayers to normalize their affairs with the CRA, to file past years returns, to correct errors or mistakes, or to correct deliberate under-reporting of income.  The programme requires all relevant tax, plus interest (subject to possible waiver in special circumstances), to be paid, but eliminates the possible application of penalties (and interest on penalties) which may be as much as 50% of the tax owing. The programme also eliminates the possibility of criminal prosecution.

Criminal Prosecutions

I do not represent clients charged with tax evasion or other criminal or quasi-criminal offences under the Income Tax Act or the GST/HST legislation. These charges require the specialized expertise of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  I will assist and advise your criminal defence lawyer regarding tax law and issues if requested.  I am happy to refer you to an experienced criminal defence lawyer in these cases. 

CRA Debt Collections

Generally the CRA cannot take legal measures to enforce tax assessments until after all appeal rights have been exhausted or the time limits for doing so have expired.  If the CRA is taking legal collection steps such as seizing bank accounts, there generally is nothing I can do for you - a Trustee in Bankruptcy should often be consulted for advice.  A Trustee may be able to work out a payment plan or get the CRA to accept a Proposal.  One significant exception to the restrictions on CRA's collection rights is for assessments of GST/HST or source deductions in the case of businesses.  The CRA can take measures to collect these once an assessment has been issued, however you will still have appeal rights in these cases and I may be able to assist not only with the appeal but possibly also in dealing with collection officials.