It’s Giving Season: Tax Credits for Charitable Donations vs. Political Contributions


By: Alexandra Tzannidakis In the public mind, the idea of tax credits for giving to ‘good causes’ sometimes leads to confusion and conflation of charitable tax credits and political tax credits. The truth is that charities and political causes are legally very distinct concepts (there is no such thing as a political charity) and although an individual can get tax credits for donating to both, the schemes that govern the reporting and calculation of these credits are quite different. With the holiday season upon us,…

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Being Audited?


An audit is the CRA’s way to confirm the truthfulness of the tax return filed. CRA auditors will demand books and records and often a meeting as a way to confirm the return. Not all of these requests are appropriate and we have successfully challenged them in the past. As lawyers, we also provide a different perspective to a CRA position than accountants and even than the auditors who are usually accountants themselves. Our work often resolves an audit before it reaches the next stage.

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Start the Clock – New Case on Suing Tax Advisors


By: Adam Aptowitzer It is no secret that over the past few years there have been a number of circumstances which have led to lawsuits against tax lawyers and accountants. These have primarily been related to the proliferation of tax shelters but, as always, there are the usual negligence claims resulting from more typical work. One recent Ontario case is instructive in discussing the limitation period relating to such cases. It is common amongst the various provinces that a civil lawsuit cannot be brought after…

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Supreme Court Rules Against Director of a Charity


By:  Adam Aptowitzer As Counsel for Ms. Guindon in her case with the Minister of National Revenue we have kept our readers abreast of developments as the appeal wended its way to the Supreme Court of Canada. On July 31st, 2015 the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the matter thus ending the appeal for Ms. Guindon. The Supreme Court found that Ms. Guindon was indeed civilly liable for her actions related to the issuance of tax receipts by a charity. By way of reminder,…

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Fighting Back


By: Adam Aptowitzer One does not need to be a tax lawyer to be familiar with stories of CRA officials using their office and abusing their power to cause problems for their fellow citizens.  Obviously, the vast majority of CRA representatives act in a professional manner but a small number of miscreants can cause such dramatic and catastrophic consequences for otherwise law-abiding citizens that their tales of woe colour the reputation of the entire Agency. And indeed, the power the CRA has over everyday individuals…

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Death and Taxes May Be Inevitable…


… but Does It Have to Be So Complicated? By: Adam Aptowitzer We have written before (several times in fact) of the great untapped potential in the donation of shares of private companies to charity. That there is great value in private companies is evident in their title as the engine of our economy. And the opportunity for capitalizing (if you’ll pardon the tax pun) on these assets lies with the turnover of assets that is occurring as the baby boomer generation prepares their affairs…

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Suing the Tax Man


by:  Alexandra Tzannidakis EquiGenesis Corporation and its owner, a corporate commercial lawyer by the name of Kenneth Gordon, have filed a statement of claim against the CRA and one of its senior auditors. The corporation is claiming substantial damages from the CRA for intentional delays and disregard of its own policies that injured EquiGenesis’s business. For anyone who has ever experienced hair-pulling levels of frustration from CRA delays (all of us), this lawsuit offers a bit of vicarious fantasizing. We’ve endeavoured to summarize the lengthy…

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Ponzi Schemes and Taxation


By:  Adam Aptowitzer In the flurry of economy-related stories over the past few years, perhaps one of the saddest items is the current situation of Earl Jones’s victims. Earl Jones, as most will recall, was a financial “adviser” in Montreal who swindled hundreds of victims over the past 20 or so years. For most of those years, the main swindle involved a Ponzi scheme — although in later years Jones convinced people (mostly elderly) to sell or mortgage their homes (and other property) and give…

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