A) If you are primarily concerned about being prosecuted for tax evasion, you need a tax lawyer.
B) If you firmly require that your discussions remain confidential and that the information you disclose will not be used against you, you need a lawyer to obtain the absolute protection that only a Solicitor-Client Privilege can provide. There is no Accountant-Client Privilege.
C) If you are concerned that you have been treated unfairly and your tax accountant has not been able to resolve the matter to your satisfaction, you need a tax lawyer.
D) If you have been treated fairly, but you want to be treated “better than” fairly, you may need a tax lawyer. Sometimes, it is possible.
E) If you are an individual or a corporate client who requires a tax defense at the Tax Court of Canada under the General Procedures, you need a tax lawyer.
F) If you are an individual who requires a tax defense at the Tax Court of Canada and if the matters at issue do not exceed $ 12,000 in any year and if you elect to have the matter proceed under the Informal Procedure, then you may represent yourself or be represented by an agent in Tax Court and you are not required to be represented by a lawyer. However, the CRA will be represented by experienced tax lawyers and you will be at a serious disadvantage if you do not have a tax lawyer. An Informal Procedure case is not a “fireside chat” with a Judge. The legal rules of admissable evidence may be “relaxed” somewhat, but the normal principles of law apply without any “relaxation”.
G) Accountants who specialize in tax and who hold a professional designation such as CA, CMA or CGA, are highly qualified professionals who are trained to assist you in virtually any tax matter, (except for tax evasion or tax litigation which are normally reserved for tax lawyers). But many accountants want their clients to have access to our specialized legal perspective for complex tax matters. Often, a legal perspective adds valuable insight. We enjoy working with tax accountants and our clients also benefit from their experience and expertise. If we consider that your matter is better handled by a tax accountant, we will advise you and we will be pleased to refer you to such professionals.
A) If you have been treated unfairly and the limitation periods have not expired, the short answer is yes, almost certainly, but not guaranteed.
B) On the other hand, it may be that a client is not treated unfairly, at all. The problem is that even fair treatment will have serious adverse financial or more serious consequences. The client wants a “better than fair” treatment. In such circumstances, there may be nothing that can be done.
C) However, it is sometimes possible to lesson the adverse impact, sometimes dramatically and particularly when we are involved early in the process. One simple example is the so-called “Tax Amnesty” or the Voluntary Disclosure Program (“VDP”). If available, that program can be very useful, if carried out carefully. This program and other, more sophisticated strategies, are best discussed in an initial consultation protected by Solicitor-Client Privilege.
D) Time is always a critical element. For example, the VDP is only available if you apply before enforcement action has started. And there are other important limitation periods regarding assessments that could prevent you from having any chance to make fresh argument. The date of the mailing of a notice of assessment or reassessment is often a key date and the date a decision is rendered, if the matter was appealed, is often another key date. Do not delay. Contact Us today.
E) No one can guarantee you a particular result. This is because an improvement in your circumstances will depend upon whether the audit, collection or appeal officials at the CRA or a Judge of the Tax Court of Canada can be persuaded that you are entitled to be treated differently. No one can guarantee that another person will be persuaded.
A) We understand that in the final result, hiring any tax lawyer needs to make sense, financially and emotionally. More than money is often involved, but money is always involved. In our view, if you need to hire a tax lawyer, it makes sense to hire the best you can afford.
B) We understandd that purchasing tax legal services is expensive, and that it may be a challenge for our clients to find the money. But we also know that not purchasing tax legal services can be much more expensive. We try to be reasonable in our fee arrangements and payment plans.
C) In most instances, legal fees paid to our firm for corporate clients and unincorporated business clients are deductible from their business or property income under generally accepted accounting rules.
D) For most individual clients, without business or property income, legal fees paid to our firm are deductible from any source of income, if the work is incurred to object to an assessment or to appeal from an assessment or reassessment, or to deal with CRA auditors during an audit or review.
E) To calculate the “tax credit” associated with tax deductible legal fees, multiply the fees paid in the year by the tax rate applicable to the person paying the fees, ie: the corporation, unincorporated business or the individual.
F) The “net” cost of tax legal fees is the amount paid to our firm less the “tax credit” receivable in the year of payment.
G) For more details on hourly, fixed rate and “results based” fee arrangements, see FEES.
A) Usually longer than you would like. Often much longer.
B) Some typical waiting times are as follows:
- CRA audit to reassessment – 3 to 6 months.
- Notice of Objection to final decision – 9 to 14 months.
- Net Worth assessments and objections – 14 to 20 months.
- Tax Court Appeal to final decision – 16 to 24 months.
- Tax Evasion criminal charge to final decision – 16 to 36 months.
- Application for Fairness to final decision – 12 to 24 months.
- Application under Freedom of Information Act (individuals) or Access to Information Act (corporations) – 3 to 6 months.
- Consumer Proposal under Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act from proposal to decision – 2 months.
- Voluntary Assignment into Bankruptcy to discharge – varies considerably – from 9 months to 36 months.