The expert tax lawyer: Your ally in disputes with Revenue Quebec and Canada
Discover the expertise of the expert tax lawyer: your trusted ally in managing disputes with Revenue Quebec and the Canada Revenue Agency.
You wish to call upon a lawyer specialized in taxes and GST/QST? This is an excellent idea to ensure proper tax planning and to benefit from professional representation in the event of a dispute with Revenue Quebec or the Canada Revenue Agency.
What is the role of a tax lawyer?
An expert tax lawyer knows the Quebec tax laws, GST and QST, as well as those of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Violation of these rules leads to severe criminal sanctions when a taxpayer files a falsified return or uses tax evasion* or abusive tax avoidance** strategies.
When the client who consults him is accused, by one or other of his authorities, of having committed an offence or a tax offence, the specialized lawyer makes sure to know the client’s side of the story; he then evaluates the different options to defend his client in a diligent and reasonable way. Other important aspects of his work include negotiating a settlement and representing clients in court.
Even if you have hired a chartered accountant to prepare your Quebec and Canadian tax forms, he or she cannot advise you on the legal aspects as a tax lawyer can. Preventive consultation with your tax advisor – whether you are a business owner or an individual – can often help you avoid the complications of a tax dispute.
As a specialist in the field of taxation, he ensures that it is appropriate to have an investigation carried out on you or your company; he makes sure that you are informed of your rights and obligations and that these are respected. When this is not the case, he/she represents you before the relevant body.
* Tax evasion consists, for an individual or a company manager, in using means to pay the least amount of tax possible by not respecting the content of the texts of the Law, nor its object, nor its spirit.
** Abusive tax avoidance is the adoption of strategies to pay the least amount of tax possible while complying with the Act, but circumventing its spirit and purpose.
In order to counter these tax offences, the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec regularly adapt their audit procedures to detect these irregular tax plans more effectively. They are liable to severe sanctions such as interest and penalties.
What does a tax lawyer do for you in the event of a dispute?
In a dispute with Revenue Quebec or the Canada Revenue Agency, the advice of a tax lawyer become necessary; especially if you wish to object to a Notice of Assessment or Reassessment for a previous year(s), or to a court decision or require a new tax audit. If there is a lawsuit, he represents you and defends you in court.
An objection to the notice of assessment must be filed by the taxpayer (or the taxpayer’s legal representative) within 90 days after the notice is mailed. Tax authorities may be given up to three years to prepare a reassessment. With your consent, your attorney may request an extension of time to file the notice of opposition under certain conditions:
- when it is considered fair and just to request an extension, (such as the death of your legal representative or his/her sudden withdrawal from the business)
- when the client is able to explain why he or she was unable to meet the deadline, and confirms that he or she had the firm intention to object to the notice of assessment received.
- when the request for extension is filed within one year (12 months) of the expiration of the deadline (90 days).
- if the application is submitted as soon as circumstances permit.
The intervention of your lawyer in case of appeal
When your lawyer is of the opinion that it would be appropriate to proceed with a federal tax (or GST) appeal, he or she will apply on your behalf to the Tax Court of Canada; if it is a provincial tax (or QST) case, the appeal will be made to the Court of Quebec, Civil Division (Tax and Administrative Division). The notice of appeal must be sent within 90 days from the date of the notice of challenge to the decision.
Under certain conditions, your lawyer can request the cancellation of the penalties and interest charged by the tax authority concerned.
The tax lawyer: an expert advisor in tax planning
Honest tax planning respects the letter of the law. Moreover, as the policy area and its rules are subject to constant study and evolution, many changes in the law may result. A tax lawyer keeps up to date on all these changes. As such, he is able to advise his clients on a wide range of tax issues and guide them in their planning.
It can also provide support in the event of requests for information in the context of an audit by provincial or Canadian tax authorities. It guides them as to the wisest strategy to adopt in the event of a negotiation or settlement.
The tax lawyer is an ally who effectively represents his client before the provincial and federal tax authorities. He pleads on her behalf to obtain justice in case of litigation.
NOTE: This article does not constitute legal advice. It is intended solely to inform readers of certain aspects of the details commonly associated with litigation with Revenue Quebec and/or Revenue Canada.