Tax Amnesty

Google the words “tax amnesty” or “voluntary disclosure” and you’ll be presented with a bevy of lawyers and accountants who promise to help you clean up your back taxes or unreported income with a cure-all solution called a voluntary disclosure. VDP for short.

Let’s set the record straight about what a VDP is and, more important, what it is NOT.

A VDP is an administrative process created by the CRA to save them the time and trouble of tracking down tax evaders.

It words on an exchange of promises.

You promise to file your outstanding tax returns, or file amended returns reporting the assets or income you’ve hitherto neglected to mention.

The CRA promises to review all your information and then, if you qualify, accept your tax returns for assessment without punishment in the form of penalties or criminal prosecution for tax evasion.

There is no promise of legal protection.

There is no promise that you will not in the future be criminally prosecuted for non-filing or tax evasion.

There is no promise that all the evidence provided in your voluntary disclosure will not be used against you in the future.

Some persons who want to come forward use their own or another accountant to negotiate a disclosure with the CRA. This can work, but accountants cannot offer them the legal protection of solicitor/client confidentiality. Also, accountants can be forced by the tax authorities not only to provide all their client’s personal papers but also to testify in any criminal tax prosecution or civil tax case. Some say I am both a lawyer and an accountant, all in one package, and this gives me an advantage. Being qualified as both a lawyer and an accountant can bring its own danger. In a U.S. tax case, the dually qualified lawyer/accountant had to testify against his client as to the part of his services that dealt with accounting. In tax cases this is usually substantial. Bottom line – more is not always better.

As experienced tax litigation and criminal tax evasion defence lawyers, we know that a voluntary disclosure can quickly become a trap for extracting confessions out of unwary tax delinquents.

That’s when we at DioGuardi created our own unique concept of Tax Amnesty.

A DioGuardi Tax Amnesty is NOT simply an ordinary voluntary disclosure.

It is NOT an administrative application for safe-passage with forgiveness of penalties and interest.

It is, instead, a serious confession of what could be criminal behaviour, submitted to the greatest extent possible under the safeguard of solicitor/client privilege, and presented as a legal defence requesting a full exoneration of your actions.

By acknowledging the nature of your actions and presenting your defence at the outset, DioGuardi is able to invoke your charter rights against self-incrimination, and thus may seek to exclude evidence revealed to the CRA, should you be prosecuted in the future for your non-filing or non-reporting.

As such, a DioGuardi Tax Amnesty offers serious legal protection.

Remember, when you exercise the provisions of the CRA’s voluntary disclosure program, there is no second chance.

You only qualify if the CRA has no prior knowledge of your tax delinquency.

You can’t start with a simple VDP and then, if you run into trouble, bring it later to DioGuardi to fix it.

By then, it is most likely too late.

You best defence is to START with DioGuardi Law – the tax lawyers who started Tax Amnesty in Canada.

© DioGuardi Law
This article 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 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