J D Buote

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CRA Audits etc:

CRA Tax Disputes

We represent clients who have tax disputes with the CRA during the assessment, audit or notice of objection stages. We work to present our client's best position to the taxing authorities. We work to settle disputes at the earliest stages and to refine and narrow the matters at issue. We have an excellent track record at resolving tax disputes at the CRA administrative level.

Voluntary Disclosures (Tax Amnesty)

We can represent you, under the protection of Solicitor/Client Privilege, on a "no names basis", to make application under the Voluntary Disclosure Program ("VDP"). We will protect your rights to fair treatment, in accordance with the Principles of Natural Justice. We will advise you of the risks involved and help you decide if a VDP is in your best interest.

There is a lot of information, (and a lot of nonsense), on the Web about "tax amnesty" and the voluntary disclosure program. For example, notwithstanding that the phrase "tax amnesty" has become a very well recognized phrase, there is no real "tax amnesty" in Canada.

There is the Voluntary Disclosure Program that the CRA administers under the apparent authority of subsection 230(3.1). That subsection does permit the CRA to waive all or part of penalties and interest but does not permit any tax to be waived. Furthermore, there is no other section in the Income Tax Act that authorizes the Minister of National Revenue (or the CRA) to waive all or any part of tax which has been assessed.

Accordingly, there is no real "tax amnesty" in Canada. All that might truly be said is that there can be a "penalty and interest amnesty" in Canada.

You will also find, on the Web, commentators who warn of certain "dire" risks associated with a Voluntary Disclosure.

We agree that there are genuine risks, especially if you might be considered by the CRA to be a "tax evader". Essentially, if it is possible that you might be charged with tax evasion, you are very much at risk if you voluntarily disclose to the CRA those facts that might help establish that you actually are a "tax evader".

Your particular situation is best discussed through an initial consultation under the protection of Solicitor-Client Privilege. Only a lawyer can offer you Solicitor-Client Privilege.

In every case, you must ensure that your VDP application meets all of the designated tests and that you will qualify for the relief offered. We can help ensure that you will qualify before disclosing any information that would identify you.

Fairness Applications

After all objection or appeal avenues to contest the assessment have been exhausted or have expired, and the assessment is fixed and final, a client may request relief of two types :

  •    A)  from all or part of the interest and/or penalties, pursuant to subsection 230(3.1), or
  •    B)  if the client is an individual or testamentary trust, a request to reopen up to ten years to permit a reduction in taxes owing, if the facts warrant it.

We can help you decide if this is a course you should take and we can file the applications on your behalf.