Are you in the middle of a tax dispute? Are you in trouble with the CRA? The team at Navigator Law can help fight for you at every step of a tax dispute, including representing you at the Tax Court of Canada.
Our legal team at Navigator Law can help both individuals and corporate clients navigate many types of tax dispute.
It can be overwhelming and stressful to be in the middle of a tax dispute, as tax law is a complicated legal area that keeps evolving. We can support you with effective and solutions-focused legal advice along with proactive tax advice to help prevent further tax disputes, tax problems, or legal issues.
If you don’t agree with a tax assessment, reassessment, audit or other CRA action, you can take action to correct the issue. This conflict about a tax matter is considered a tax dispute. For example, individuals can be involved in tax disputes related to income taxes, tax benefits, or property taxes. Businesses can be dealing with tax disputes related to business income, GST/HST, commodity taxes/excise taxes.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the Canadian government agency responsible for administering Canadian tax laws for the federal and provincial governments (except Quebec). Most tax disputes will involve the CRA, as they oversee the collection of federal taxes and provincial taxes for the province of Alberta. There are a few exceptions. For example, residential and business property taxes, which are collected by your city or municipality such as The City of Calgary.
In Canada, we have a self-reporting tax system, which means individuals and businesses are responsible for filing an annual tax return. The CRA processes this self-reported tax information and issues you or your business a Notice of Assessment with information on taxes owed.
Tax disputes usually arise when the CRA suspects there is a discrepancy between the self-reported tax information and the actual value of your assets or income. There are other kinds of issues, however for simplicity we are covering a typical case below.
In a typical case, before a Notice of Assessment (NoA) is issued or even after you have received an initial NoA, the CRA may request more information or notify you that they will conduct an audit.
Often a request for more information is due to incomplete or inaccurate information provided in your tax return. Based on the information provided, the CRA might choose to conduct an audit as well.
CRA tax audits can focus on specific tax issues or can be a full-scale audit that looks at all aspects of your business or personal finances. In some cases, without the right professional help, even a simple tax matter can snowball into a time-consuming complicated tax problem or dispute. That’s why it can be helpful to bring a tax lawyer in as early as possible to prevent a tax dispute from escalating.
After the CRA audit, the CRA auditor may send a Proposal Letter where they outline why they want to reassess your taxes and how. After you have received this proposal, you typically have 30 days to provide the auditor with additional information before they issue a Notice of Reassessment.
After a tax audit or request for information, the CRA can decide that they disagree with the tax information you provided and issue a Notice of Reassessment. For many, a Notice of Reassessment means that they’re suddenly faced with a large tax bill.
If you disagree with the reassessment, including the tax owing, interest, or penalties, you have 90 days after the date on the Notice of Reassessment to prepare and file a Notice of Objection. In some circumstances, it is possible to apply to fight a Notice of Reassessment up to a year after the issue date.
After the CRA has reviewed your Notice of Objection, a CRA appeals officer will decide to cancel the Notice of Reassessment or confirm its validity. If your Notice of Objection is denied, you can choose to make an appeal at the Tax Court of Canada within 90 days.
The Tax Court of Canada is a specialized court that only hears tax disputes. To get a tax dispute before this court, you file a Notice of Appeal with evidence and documentation to support your case.
Similar to other court procedures, the Tax Court process can involve document discovery, hearing of witness testimony, and presentation of arguments and evidence.
Once the Tax Court of Canada has heard from both parties involved in the dispute, a judge renders a decision. If you and your legal team believe a mistake has been made in the case or the court decision is faulty, you might be able to file an appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
A tax lawyer will help protect your interests in a tax dispute and ensure that you are treated fairly by tax authorities and in the courts. Your legal team will ensure that you consider all the options available to you and that all documents and applications are completed correctly and within the relevant deadlines. With legal help, you make sure that any tax disputes are dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible.
Our legal team at Navigator Law has the experience and specialized knowledge to help you with all aspects of tax disputes and tax problems.
If you are worried about unreported income, underreported income, or hold money offshore, we can help you prepare for Voluntary Disclosure Program Applications and outstanding tax returns.
Recently, the CRA has increased its focus on tax evasion and avoidance and has a better capacity to address cross-border transactions and possible tax evasion. Under the voluntary disclosure program, the CRA provides incentives such as penalty and interest relief. By voluntarily disclosing the unreported income, you can also prevent legal problems such as criminal charges for tax evasion.
Strategic tax planning is the best way to minimize your tax burden while preventing legal issues and tax disputes in the long-term.
Effective tax planning looks at tax benefits you’re not making use of or business or family events that may impact your tax risk. Our law firm will take your situation into consideration when developing a tax planning strategy. We are also able to draw from other areas of expertise, including estate planning, family law, or business law to give you the best legal and tax advice possible.
Navigator Law can help you successfully resolve any personal or corporate tax dispute. If you have a tax problem, don’t wait to seek the advice and legal help you need! Call us to make an appointment today.
Do I need a lawyer to handle a tax dispute?
No, but it might speed up the process of resolving the tax dispute. Tax law is a complicated legal area, and you might not be aware of all the options available to you and the processes to access them.
Why does the CRA select a case for a tax audit?
Often, an individual or business is selected for a tax audit because the tax information is incomplete or incorrect. If the CRA can see a pattern of the incorrect tax information provided or noncompliance with tax obligations, you have a higher risk of a tax audit. To prevent an audit, you can make sure you file your tax returns correctly and have an effective tax plan in place.
How do I know if the CRA is conducting a tax audit?
A CRA auditor will contact you by mail or phone to inform you about the tax audit. You are required to provide information for the CRA auditor, who will either come to your home or business or do the audit remotely. In general, a CRA auditor can request information and documents from the last 6 years.
How much does it cost to dispute a tax audit?
There’s no fee for filing a Notice of Objection. However, if you want to file an appeal to the Tax Court of Canada, in some cases there’s a filing fee of between $250-550.