Charter Protection Cannot be Taken for Granted

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By: Adam Aptowitzer It is almost trite to say that the Canada Revenue Agency is dedicated to the administration of the income tax system in this country. There are exceptions to this, of course, the most obvious being the regulation of charities. However, a recent amendment to the Income Tax Act giving the CRA new powers may have gone beyond adding ancillary duties and created a secondary mandate for the agency. New subsection 241(9.5) requires the Agency to deliver evidence of certain criminal code offences…

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Fighting Back

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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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Bolting the Barn Door After It’s Burned to the Ground

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By:  Adam Aptowitzer In a report entitled “Donor Beware”[1] the Tax Ombudsman opined on the CRA’s administrative responsibilities regarding charitable donation tax shelters. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the report is that it is dated March 19th, 2014 after years of legislative implementation of tools for the CRA to crack down on tax shelter promoters, charities, directors of charities and donors connected with such plans. As far as we can tell most offensive tax shelters seem to be shut down albeit leaving several large…

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In Incentive Lies Behaviour – If You Understand the Incentive

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By: Adam Aptowitzer Most Canadians are aware of the effect that RRSP contributions have on their taxes, and are aware of the deadline for making contributions each year. This is mostly due to the educational efforts of the banks and others that ‘sell’ RRSPs make each year – as the March 1st (or February 29th as the case may be) deadline approaches. The run for RRSPs each year illustrate that when Canadians understand the incentive system they are quite prepared to alter their behaviour to…

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Ponzi Schemes and Taxation

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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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