Tax planning – tax laws are extremely complex and constantly changing. In order to reduce your tax burden and prevent your assets from being eroded by excessive taxes you will need a tax plan conceived and implemented by an experienced tax lawyer. At Devry Smith Frank LLP (DSF) we provide tax planning services for individuals, estates and businesses. Our areas of expertise include:
- Corporate Tax Law
- Tax Planning for Individuals, Estates and Businesses
- Business Organization
- Corporate Tax Structures
- Structuring of Stock Incentive Plans
- Individual and Corporate Inheritance Tax Planning
- Advice and Counsel on Tax Problems and Issues
- Minimization of Federal, Provincial and Estate taxes
- Wealth Preservation Strategies
- Charitable Giving Strategies
- Estate Tax Planning
- Succession Planning
- Real Estate Tax Planning
- Retirement Planning
- Cross-border Tax Issues
Tax Disputes, Litigation & the CRA – failure to file tax returns, tax evasion, tax fraud, underpayment, underreporting, sales tax disputes, bankruptcy, payroll and business tax disputes and even honest mistakes – all can result in audit, reassessment and large additional amounts owing. Tax litigation and formal dispute is a taxpayer’s only recourse. It is best to retain tax litigation lawyers as early in the process as possible so as to minimize the consequences, and to keep the costs down.
At DSF we provide tax litigation and dispute services for individuals and businesses. The process leading to tax litigation and dispute resolution includes in general the following steps, for which DSF lawyers have vast experience:
- Tax Audit: Government auditors review, question taxpayers’ returns and issue reassessments, increasing taxpayers’ liabilities for tax, penalty and interest. Depending on the process, damaging penalties are possible, such as gross-negligence penalties.
- Tax Objection: Taxpayers (individuals and businesses) can challenge the correctness of an assessment or reassessment by sending a notice of objection to the CRA’s Appeals Division and asking an appeals officer to reverse or reduce the reassessments. The limitation periods are short and strict once an assessment or reassessment is issued.
- Tax Appeal: If you disagree with the decision on your income tax or GST/HST objection, you can appeal to the Tax Court of Canada. Taxpayers must file a Notice of Appeal to the Court, and are in essence the plaintiff in a civil suit – the Tax Court of Canada is a superior court and has complex rules similar to the other Canadian and provincial civil courts. A taxpayer must first file a notice of objection before they can appeal.
- Tax Litigation & Offenses: If a taxpayer makes a mistake regarding their information when they file their taxes or if they purposely omit information or provide false information, the CRA may investigate and charge that taxpayer with a criminal tax offense under the Income Tax Act. The criminal charge can be brought at any time in the process, but is subject to rules regarding the admissibility of evidence obtained by CRA utilizing its civil audit powers. Experienced counsel should be retained to ensure your Charter rights are not violated during this process.
- Voluntary Disclosure (Tax Amnesty): Where a taxpayer has made filing errors, or omissions, or committed fraud or other offenses under the tax statutes, it is possible to eliminate penalties, interest and possible criminal charges provided you approach the CRA proactively. This is a very nuanced area of law and is subject to strict conditions. Those with issues, particularly related to fraudulent returns or other activities that could result in being charged with an offense should only deal with legal counsel when submitting these applications.
- Federal Court Applications: Where a taxpayer has made an application for a Voluntary Disclosure or requested that CRA provide any relief for which the CRA retains discretion, and been denied, the Taxpayer still maintains a right of judicial review of the decision. This area of law is much less forgiving to taxpayers so proper advice is necessary to ensure that you maintain your right of appeal to the Tax Court instead where possible.
WHY HIRE DSF?
Unexpected Tax audits and reassessments can result in dire consequences. Our experienced tax litigation lawyers will provide you with the best representation possible in disputes with the CRA, Tax Court and Federal Court representation, criminal tax representation, provincial taxing agencies, and sales tax litigation. Contact DSF for sound, practical and cost effective tax litigation advice at (416) 449-1400 or contact any of our lawyers listed on this page directly.
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