Can I go to jail for tax evasion?

All taxpayers must understand that filing taxes and reporting all income accurately is not an accounting exercise, nor the fulfilment of a social obligation.  It’s the law. Failure to file every year, or concealing income on your return, is committing tax evasion and tax evaders are prosecuted in criminal court by way of summary conviction or upon indictment.  

When convicted, large fines (up to 200% of the tax that should have been paid plus daily interest) are payable.  If several years have passed, the daily interest can be almost as high as the tax. There will also be civil fines of up to 50% of the tax that is owed, plus, once again, daily interest.  The total tax liability can be enough to ruin you financially. 

Contrary to popular opinion, declaring bankruptcy won’t necessarily wipe out your full amount of tax debt.  It also won’t protect you from criminal charges. If you are convicted of tax evasion, failure to pay the criminal penalty will land you in jail.

You should be concerned about the possibility of a criminal investigation if:

  • You lied on your return to avoid paying taxes and now the CRA has notified you that they are reviewing it.  Auditors are trained to refer cases to Investigations when they discover false or fraudulent information.
  • You haven’t been filing income tax returns.  If you haven’t been filing, you need to be very worried about your years of evading taxes leading to prosecution.  This holds true even if you think that you have paid most or all of your personal taxes. Wilful failure to file your tax return for more than one year if tax is due, is a criminal offence.
  • A third-party demand is served on your accountant, bank, employer or others seeking information related to your taxes.
  • You have problems with provincial tax authorities. 

The Canada Revenue Agency and provincial tax authorities have information-sharing agreements.  Therefore, if you have a run-in with provincial tax authorities, the federal Agency may also be aware of the situation and could decide to look into the matter further. 

Any of these situations indicate that the CRA is already on your case and appropriate legal counsel is your best protection.

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 Solutions

Tax collectors are getting more aggressive and often can threaten seizure of your bank accounts or your home. It is essential to take the offensive to protect yourself. Each of our tax debt solutions is custom made to solve your problem.

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