Can Ontario Accountants and Tax-Preparers be Charged and Convicted of Tax Evasion?

Can Ontario Accountants and Tax-Preparers be Charged and Convicted of Tax Evasion?

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Often when an individual is charged with income tax evasion, he or she wasn’t the only one taking care of the tax records. The same goes for business – in many cases, an accountant is involved in preparing tax returns and other tax documents.

As a criminal defence lawyer, a question I sometimes hear is: can an Ontario accountant be charged or eventually convicted for involvement in a client’s tax evasion?

The recent case of R. v. Leo-Mensah served as a poignant reminder that any accountant or financial professional who knowingly assists his or her clients in committing tax evasion can be charged and prosecuted for doing so.

In that case, an Ontario accountant ended up going to court and being convicted. Between 2003 and 2005, he had prepared tax returns for 300 different clients – many of which allegedly contained false claims for charity donations.

The accountant ended up being charged with one charge of fraud and two charges of income tax evasion – the accountant had failed to report income he allegedly received from completing the fraudulent returns. He was convicted of the offences – leading to a large fine and a prison sentence.

So if you are an accountant in Ontario, and one or more of your clients are being investigated or prosecuted for tax evasion, you are not immune from tax evasion charges.

If you are an accountant or professional who is being investigated or charged in connection with income tax evasion, it’s important to speak with a top criminal defence lawyer who can help you understand your rights and advise you on how to proceed. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

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