J D Buote

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When do I need a tax lawyer?


  • 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.