Fighting the CRA is often worth it!

So you’ve filed your tax return. Now comes nail-biting time.

​Even if you are audited and are hit with additional taxes and penalties, your chances of getting those charges reduced – or even eliminated – may be better than you think. It’s been estimated that taxpayers who took their case to the CRA’s appeals division won at least some relief in between 35% to 40% of the cases.

​Audits come in different forms. Some are handled entirely by mail, such as when the CRA asks for more documentation to support an item on your return. In other cases, the audit may take place in your home, office or your tax adviser’s office. If you disagree with the outcome, you can ask appeals officials to review your case.

​Many taxpayers assume it isn’t worth the time, trouble and expense to challenge the CRA unless the amount of money at issue is large. But don’t automatically surrender if you feel you have a strong case, or believe the auditor made a mistake. You can get the form on line and file a Notice of Objection. This takes you to the Appeals Division. It frequently gives taxpayers some relief.

​Unlike auditors, appeals officers are authorized to settle tax assessments based on their judgment of what could happen if the case goes to Tax Court.

​Appeals officers typically are “more savvy” about tax law than auditors and collection staffers. Good deals are often made in the appeals section.

​Filing a Notice of Objection to contest an unfavourable assessment and having Appeals consider itcould take roughly a year. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can still slug it out in the Tax Court. If the amount in issue is not high, you can even plead your own case under the Informal Procedure. Under the Informal Procedure rules, even if you lose, there are usually no court costs and you at least have had your day in court. Also, the Justice lawyer handling the case for the CRA might agree to a settlement rather than fight out the case in front of a Tax Court judge. One very important thing that many taxpayers overlook is the need to pay the disputed taxes at once if possible. That is because the interest rate on overdue tax bills is very high. If you are successful,either with the negotiations or in court you will get a refund plus repayment of interest, albeit at a much lower rate.

​Some people contend that the appeals division’s independence from audit has eroded in recent years and that appeals officers often are tougher to deal with than they once were, reflecting the CRA’s overall enforcement crackdown.

​Appeals officials strongly defend their independence and say they’re trying to resolve as many cases as possible in a fair manner without giving away the store.

​Rather than just complaining that you were unfairly treated by the taxman, consider taking a kick at the cat. It may just put money in your pocket!

© The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. You are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained in the context of your own particular circumstances.

Brigitte DioGuardi

B.A., LL.B

Brigitte obtained her Law Degree from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Upon her return, she qualified for the Bar and was called to the Law Society of Ontario (formerly the Law Society of Upper Canada) in 2002. She was also a member of the Bar of British Columbia and headed up the Vancouver office of DioGuardi Tax Law.  Fluently bilingual in English and French, Brigitte has broad experience in the areas of:

  • Tax Law, Civil Assessment Negotiation and Litigation, Criminal Prosecution Defense, Unpayable Tax Debt Solutions, Audits, Tax Amnesty.
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Real Estate
  • Wills and Estates
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy

Tax Law

​If you are one of thousands of Canadians who have failed to file taxes for several years the answer maybe to seek amnesty. Be aware that failure to file for more than one year if you owe taxes is a criminal offence and you may be criminally prosecuted.

The CRA Voluntary Disclosure Program allows taxpayers to come forward and obtain immunity from prosecution and most civil penalties, provided certain conditions are met.

We specialize in lawyer-negotiated tax debt settlements and tax amnesties with federal and provincial tax authorities, offering taxpayers a much-needed resource for the resolution of situations that all too often put personal and financial lives at risk. We stand as your protector, defender, and advocate to ensure that you the taxpayer, receive the best treatment possible. 

We offer solutions for tax problems such as:

  • Unreported income
  • Unfiled tax returns
  • Payment arrangements
  • Unpayable tax debt
  • Tax dispute litigation
  • Criminal tax defense

Wills, Estates & Trusts

​We offer the following will, estate and trust services for individuals and business-owners:

  • Wills
  • Preparation of trust agreements
  • Powers of attorney
  • Estate administration
  • Probate
  • Representation in estate driven litigation
  • We currently offer a special time limited package for one will and two powers of attorney (property and personal care) for $295 plus HST

Real Estate

We can assist you with all your real estate needs including:

  • Drafting agreements
  • Purchases and Sales
  • Title transfers
  • Leases

Tax Debt Relief

With the coronavirus pandemic leaving many in a precarious and dire financial situation, it is essential that you protect yourself financially. If you have a large, unpayable tax bill, we can help. We act in the best interest of the tax debtor. Unlike us, insolvency trustees represent not only you but your creditors (ie- the tax collector). The more tax you pay, the more trustees earn. Our goal through leveraged negotiations, is to reduce your tax debt.

Please consult our blog post Protecting Your Assets from Creditors for more information.

Business & Tax Planning

If you do not already have a certified financial planner, we can provide one or more highly qualified people who can work closely with us to assist you with such matters as:

  • Resident and non-resident corporate restructuring
  • Optimum use of holding corporations
  • Continuity and succession planning
  • Tax-free transfers
  • Losses and ABIL planning
  • Making interest tax deductible
  • Small business planning

Corporate & Commercial Law

We have represented business clients for the last 50 plus years and have supported their legal requirements on an on-going basis by offering the following services:

  • Incorporations and corporate governance
  • Corporate reorganizations and transactions for the directors and shareholders
  • Negotiation and drafting of agreements, professional corporations, minute book maintenance

Brigitte DioGuardi

B.A., LL.B

Brigitte obtained her Law Degree from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Upon her return, she qualified for the Bar and was called to the Law Society of Ontario (formerly the Law Society of Upper Canada) in 2002. She was also a member of the Bar of British Columbia and headed up the Vancouver office of DioGuardi Tax Law.  Fluently bilingual in English and French, Brigitte has broad experience in the areas of:

  • Tax Law, Civil Assessment Negotiation and Litigation, Criminal Prosecution Defense, Unpayable Tax Debt Solutions, Audits, Tax Amnesty.
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Real Estate
  • Wills and Estates
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy

Joyce Bruno

EXECUTIVE LEGAL ASSISTANT

Joyce Bruno has worked as executive legal assistant to Paul Dioguardi for 35 years and continues to offer her expertise and experience to the Dioguardi Law firm. Joyce’s role has evolved over the years and has acquired and developed many skills. She is an invaluable asset in case management and ensures the smooth running of our office.

Paul DioGuardi

B.A., LL.B, Queen’s Counsel

Paul obtained his Law Degree from Queen’s University in 1964.  He is a member of the Bars of Ontario, British Columbia and the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British tax free territory in the West Indies. He has over 50 years of experience and was trained at the Ottawa head offices of Revenue Canada and the Tax Litigation Section at the Department of Justice. Paul has had and continues with an extensive career in various areas of law such as:

  • Tax Law, Civil Assessment Negotiation and Litigation, Criminal Prosecution Defense, Unpayable Tax Debt Solutions, Audits, Tax Amnesty.
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Real Estate
  • Wills and Estates
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy