Have you received a letter from the tax authorities advising you of an audit?
Have they asked for information and documents?
During an audit, the tax authorities will ask for information, books and records to determine whether, in their view, your income tax return correctly reported your income and gains and that you were entitled to deduct the expenses and credits claimed.
While you're being audited, you might feel stressed and uncertain about the outcome. You might be unsure as to whether you are correctly answering the auditor's questions. You might wonder about the impact of your answers on the reassessments.
I will address these concerns and represent your best interests with the tax authorities. I will also collaborate with your professional advisor who is knowledgeable about your financial affairs, usually your accountant. The audit is the first opportunity to present your story, and I will help identify the key facts that need to be shared.
While an audit can be invasive, you do have rights as a taxpayer. I will ensure that your rights are respected and that your audit goes smoothly. I have lots of experience working with auditors – they used to be my client.
Do you feel that the auditor didn't consider all your relevant points before reassessing?
Do you disagree with the adjustments for which you were reassessed?
You have the right to formally object to the reassessments 90 days following the date on your notice of reassessment. By objecting, another employee of the tax authorities, called an appeals officer, will review your position and the auditor's position. If you missed the 90-day deadline, we can request an extension of time.
The objection is an opportunity to counter the auditor's position and present your position to a new decision-maker. The appeals officer will consider our representations as well as the auditor's findings and render a decision either:
Any remaining adjustments that you disagree after the decision on objection can be contested in litigation before either the Tax Court of Canada or the Court of Quebec.
Litigation is the process of building your case to have it ultimately considered by a judge at a trial. Often, during the process, the parties will decide to settle out of court.
The tax authorities are not the final decision makers with respect to your tax issue: you are entitled to a fair and impartial hearing before the Tax Court or the Court of Quebec - and even their decisions can be appealed.
The courts are independent and do not have access to the tax authorities' audit or objection files. Rather, at the trial, each party must make its factual case according to the rules of evidence. Moreover, the judge will render its decision based legal reasoning presented by lawyers, and will consider case law that the tax authorities don't.
However, most cases don't need to proceed to trial. In litigation, the tax authorities will be represented by a lawyer who will have a fresh look and approach the merits of your case from a litigation perspective. In most cases, our goal will be to convince the tax authorities' lawyer that the evidence and the law is on our side and that they should settle your case. I know very well how to do that: I used to be one of those lawyers.
An out of court settlement will often be the quickest way to get your tax burden off your shoulders. That said, you still want your counsel to have the skills to take your case to trial. Why?
I have successfully negotiated countless settlements; and I am always ready if we decide to go to trial.
Have your tax debts accumulated the kind of interest you want your investments to return?
Do you feel as though you will never be able to pay it off?
You can request that the Canada and Quebec Revenue Agencies cancel or waive all or part of the interest and penalties on your tax debt. They will generally agree to do so if one of the following situations apply:
I will work with you to ensure that your request accurately details your circumstances and justifies why you should receive relief from interest and penalties.
Our goal is to convince the tax authorities to drop the interest and penalties. However, if they do not, their decision is subject to judicial review in either the Federal Court of the Superior Court of Quebec.
In January 2020, I spoke about how the courts consider such requests at a conference held by the Association de planification fiscale et financière. I have analyzed the case law in which the courts allow or deny a taxpayer's judicial review of their taxpayer relief request.
Using my knowledge of how the tax authorities consider these requests and the case law trends, I will build a persuasive taxpayer relief request on your behalf.
Maybe you're knowledgeable about tax but need help for a specific issue.
Suppose you're making an investment, business or life decision and have questions about the tax treatment.
Perhaps you're wondering what documents you need to keep to justify your tax reporting decisions.
Many future tax issues can be prevented by planning ahead. It would be my pleasure to answer your questions.