If I am Being Audited by the Canada Revenue Agency, Do I Need a Lawyer?

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Tax evasion in Ontario is complicated in that you won’t be charged right away for an alleged offence. First, a national crown corporation called the Canada Revenue Agency will conduct an audit or investigation of your tax information in order to determine whether tax evasion may have actually taken place.

One common question we hear is: “Do I need to get help from a criminal defence lawyer if I am being audited or investigated for an Ontario tax evasion offence?”

That’s a tricky question to answer because charges have not necessarily been laid yet. Why hire a criminal lawyer if you are not facing any charges under the Criminal Code of Canada? I wrote a new article to explain why you absolutely should get a criminal defence lawyer’s help at this stage in the process.

One mistake people make is that they believe their accountant can help them. This can be a fatal error. I have seen cases where the client’s accountant is forced to testify against the client.

You can read it here on the site: Canada Revenue Agency Investigations and Hiring an Ontario Criminal Lawyer.

An audit or investigation by the Canada Revenue Agency is to be taken seriously – it can be just as complex and stressful as many criminal investigations. Why not take some of the burden off of your own shoulders and let a top criminal lawyer help you fight the accusations early on?

If you are being investigated or audited by the Canada Revenue Agency for possible tax evasion, you need to get legal help from an Ontario criminal defence lawyer sooner rather than later. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Canada Revenue Agency Investigations and Hiring an Ontario Criminal Lawyer

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – The Canada Revenue Agency detects and reports possible income tax evasion activity in Ontario. They accomplish this by conducting audits and investigations on tax returns and reviewing documents that the Agency feels might be false. These false tax documents can be created in three ways:

  • Income is understated in order to reduce income tax payment levels.
  • Income goes unreported, even though it was allegedly received by the individual.
  • Ontario Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is not remitted even though it is owed.

If the Canada Revenue Agency flags your tax returns, their next step may be to audit or investigate you for tax evasion activity. While there may not yet be any criminal charges at this point, it is crucial that you seek the help of a top criminal defence lawyer sooner rather than later.

Wondering why you need a lawyer even though you haven’t been charged? Here are a few good reasons:

  1. You need the help of someone who thoroughly understands the Agency’s guidelines, practices, and structure, and who has experience dealing with them.

Your objective at this point is probably to clear yourself of any involvement in a tax evasion scheme. I must emphasize that this is not something you are equipped to do alone – the Agency’s structure and methods are complicated and you might even accidentally say something that hurts your situation. Let a top criminal lawyer deal with your charges early on and on your behalf.

  1. It’s always smarter to start building your defence as soon as possible.

Don’t lose valuable preparation and fact-gathering time by waiting until you have been charged – get a lawyer who can help you figure out what information is necessary, and help you start to gather that information immediately. You and your lawyer can use these facts and evidence to defend yourself if you are eventually charged.

  1. A lawyer understands your specific tax evasion case.

A top criminal defence lawyer knows the rights you are entitled to when being investigated by the CRA and can ensure your rights are protected. Without proper legal representation, your rights may be violated without you ever knowing it.

If you are being audited or investigated by the Canada Revenue Agency, choosing the best criminal lawyer to represent you is an important decision. For more information, contact the Ottawa white-collar crime lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

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.

What Should I do If I am Arrested by the Police?

As an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer, I am often asked what someone should do if he or she is arrested by the police in connection with a crime.

If you are ever arrested by the police for a crime like fraud, tax evasion, assault, impaired driving or even homicide, the worst thing you can do is to talk to the police about “what happened”.  Protesting your innocence to the police will not get you anywhere and may make things much more difficult for your criminal defence lawyer.

Instead of trying to talk your way out of the criminal charges, politely but firmly indicate that you would like to speak with a criminal defence lawyer.  You really should not say more than that.  Even small comments can be used by the Crown against you in a trial.

Make the most of your telephone call with a criminal defence lawyer.  Keep in mind that you do not only get one call as they say on television.  If you do not reach your counsel of choice, in many cases you can leave a message for a return call or select another lawyer of your choice to try to call.

During the call, the lawyer will probably not want you to talk about the nitty gritty of your case.  Instead, the criminal defence lawyer will want to explain to you how to cope with the arrest process and what to expect.  The strategy for defending against the charges will be developed after the arrest process is completed and you are either released on bail or moved to the detention centre.

While your arrest is processed, you may be placed in a holding cell.  In Ottawa, most areas of the cell blocks are video taped. In some circumstances there may be audio as well.  Your behaviour during that process will be recorded.  Accordingly, you should be calm, cool and collected.

An arrest for a criminal charge is scary and undesirable.  However, with thoughtful advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer like Richard Auger, the disruption to your life can be minimized.

Harmonized Sales Tax Evasion in Ontario

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Harmonized sales taxes (HST) were introduced to Ontario earlier this year, and we saw resultant increases in the prices we pay for essential consumer services including:

  • Home renovations;
  • Gasoline;
  • Internet & electricity bills;
  • Consumer goods purchased from restaurants, bars, convenience stores, coffee shops, etc.

With that added pressure on Ontario consumers and their wallets, the temptation is greater to find methods of avoiding tax payments.

These “off-the-books” transactions are illegal and can attract criminal tax evasion. Before the introduction of HST you were required to pay sales tax on purchases, and you are still required to do so – even though the GST and PST have been harmonized.

In early July, the Toronto Star spoke with Ontario’s Revenue Minister John Wilkinson and published an article detailing his views on this subject: Province Warns of the Perils of HST Evasion.

In that article, Wilkinson points out that prosecuting tax evaders in Ontario is easier under HST. Under the old system, one case of suspected evasion had to be examined under two different tax systems at different jurisdictions.

Now that there is a harmonized tax system in effect, Ontario tax evasion cases can be prosecuted efficiently at the provincial level.

If you are being investigated or have been charged in connection with tax evasion in Ontario, it’s important that you speak with an experienced white collar crime and tax evasion lawyer who can help you fight your charges and understand your rights. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Can I settle my unreported, unpaid taxes to avoid being charged with income tax evasion?

OTTAWA TAX EVASION LAWYER- Can tax evasion be resolved without criminal charges and prosecution, if the taxpayer simply files and pays the taxes owed?

The short answer is this: the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can and likely will prosecute you after you’ve committed tax evasion – even if you approached them with the intention of settling up.

In a recent online news release, the CRA briefly explained its policy regarding prosecution:

“Individuals who have not filed returns for previous years, or who have not reported all of their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. They will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a valid disclosure before they become aware of any compliance action being initiated by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) against them.”

It’s true that you can attempt to make that voluntary correction through the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program. But if the CRA has already learned of possible tax evasion– a good example being the HSBC banking information leak we blogged about last week – it may be a different matter.

If you’ve been evading taxes and the CRA has noticed this activity, you do not have the option of paying back the missed taxes. The agency usually does not hesitate to prosecute these knowing evaders, even if they try to come clean. It’s best to seek legal advice quickly.

If you are being questioned or investigated by the CRA about possible tax evasion, your first step should be speaking with a lawyer experienced in financial crime. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone (613) 233-4529.

Canada Revenue Agency Audits and Tax Evasion

OTTAWA TAX EVASION LAWYER – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the organization in charge of examining your tax return, which includes income, expenses, investments, and other financial matters.

When a taxpayer doesn’t pay the full legally-required amount of income tax, as determined by their return, there’s a chance they will be audited or even investigated by the CRA – and perhaps accused of income tax evasion as a result.

The CRA employs assessors and investigators who review Canadians’ tax documentation. They are specially trained to spot overstated or understated entries. When they find a false entry, it can result in higher taxes, interest, and penalties.

An audit takes things one step further. The agency will call for an audit or investigation if they suspect that tax evasion – a criminal offence in Canada – has occurred. After the CRA finishes an investigation, the taxpayer in question may be charged.

The CRA decides who to audit based on a number of information sources:

  • Formulas and algorithms, developed to detect irregular or suspicious tax information.
  • The CRA has a “tip line,” where individuals can send in a tip alerting the agency to an instance of tax evasion, or related offences.
  • Occasionally, information on individuals’ financial circumstances will be sent to the CRA by whistleblowers, foreign authorities, or other sources.

Occasionally, disclosures from that third group can cause much concern for the CRA and potentially lead to many audits. That’s what we saw in the recent news story involving HSBC in Switzerland, and it is likely that many of the 1,785 Canadians whose names were transferred over may be audited or investigated by the CRA in connection with possible tax evasion activity.

In situations where the taxpayers’ money is held in foreign banks – especially with Swiss banks which are famous for their secrecy – that taxpayer may think that their financial information is safe from assessors and auditors.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple – accountants are not protected by any professional privilege, and therefore must disclose client information if they are ordered to by the CRA or by the court.

If the CRA is auditing you, or you have concerns that an assessment may result in an audit, the first thing you should do is seek expert advice. A lawyer experienced in defending income tax evasion can help you proceed. What you should not do is attempt to deal with the accusations yourself, without appropriate legal advice and the aid of a professional.

If you have already been charged with tax evasion, it’s crucial that you hire a lawyer who is experienced with large-scale tax cases, and has a proven track record defending against accusations of white-collar crime. For more information, contact the criminal defence and tax evasion lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by phone 613-233-4529 or by email [email protected]

Canadians May be Accused in Switzerland Tax-Evasion Sweep

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Tax evasion is a serious offence in Canada, and it frequently involves storing money in private off-shore bank accounts.

Over the last few days, the details of many off-shore accounts – namely those with one particular bank in Switzerland – were handed to tax authorities, leaving the account-holders subject to investigation for evading taxes.

A computer security specialist was fired from a HSBC private bank in Switzerland after pleading for more transparency. He provided the French government with the names of roughly 80,000 individuals holding off-shore accounts with the Swiss bank.

Out of the lengthy list of names, a significant 1,785 are Canadians. A spokesperson for Canada’s Minister of National Revenue indicated that French authorities have provided the government with a list of individuals, from that pile, who may be using the accounts for tax evasion purposes.

Tax evasion can take on a number of forms including filing false returns, destroying accounting books, or failing in any other way to comply with the Income Tax Act.

If you are contacted or questionedabout possible involvement with tax evasion or other financial crimes, you should speak with an experienced white-collar crime lawyer about your options, your rights, and how to proceed. For more information on financial crime, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

White Collar Business and Corporate Crimes

Ottawa, Ontario criminal defense lawyer Richard Auger and his professional staff represent business clients in Ontario and nationwide facing criminal investigations in “white-collar” cases in the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ontario Superior Court and other provincial courts.

What does that mean for you?

Our lawyers regularly advise and represent clients targeted for investigation, as well as individuals subpoenaed to appear as witnesses in inquiries relating to “white collar” allegations.   Our experienced criminal defence lawyers know how to protect you from prosecutorial overreaching, ensuring that you are not compelled to give evidence that can be used against you.
Experienced Criminal Defense lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth provide comprehensive and client focused legal representation.  We will guide you efficiently and effectively through the process of investigation, charges being laid, plea negotiations where applicable, trial and appeal.  Richard Auger is known across Canada for his creative solutions to serious criminal cases.  He is well-known to Crown attorneys and judges for excellent preparation and the relentless defense of our client’s interests.

Ontario-based criminal defense lawyer Richard Auger assists clients facing serious white-collar, fraud and other business related charges related to:

  • Securities Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Tax Fraud
  • Internet Crimes
  • Computer Crimes
  • Gambling Crimes
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Identity Theft – Credit Card Fraud
  • Consumer Fraud – Counterfeit Goods
  • Hazardous Materials Violations
  • Embezzlement
  • Counterfeiting
  • Extradition Proceedings
  • Domestic Violence Allegations

Getting a lawyer involved in your case early can often eliminate the stigma of criminal charges by avoiding criminal charges altogether.  When this happens, you preserve your freedom, your family, your reputation and your business or professional license.

If you are arrested, Richard Auger speaks directly with law enforcement officers, and the Crown to arrange a reasonable bail and, wherever possible,  resolve your case out of the public eye.   Talk with us before talking with the police or the Crown.

26 Ways the Charter Protects You – Twenty-Six Facts About the Charter and You

Make sure your criminal defence lawyer protects your constitutional rights when you are charged with a criminal offence.

You have:

  1. the right to remain silent.
  2. the right to a lawyer, including the right to consult that lawyer privately.
  3. the right to a fair trial.
  4. the right to a trial without undue delay.
  5. the right to a trial in English or French.
  6. the right to know why you have been arrested.
  7. the right not to testify against yourself.
  8. the right to an interpreter in court.
  9. the right to an impartial tribunal.
  10. the right to reasonable bail.
  11. the right to be tried by a judge and jury (in most cases).
  12. the right to be presumbed innocent.

You cannot be:

  1. detained arbitrarily (except in some limited circumstances).
  2. detained without being brought before a justice within 24 hours.
  3. subjected to an unreasonable search of your person, your home or your car.
  4. charged with an offence on the basis of racial profiling.
  5. charged tried twice for the same offence.
  6. be convicted of an offence that is overly broad.
  7. be convicted of an offence that is sexist, racist or otherwise discriminatory.

What if Your Charter Rights are Violated?

  1. Evidence obtained by the Crown in a way that violates the Charter may be excluded from use against you at trial.
  2. If you are charged with an offence that violates the Charter, the offence and the charges with it, may be struck down.
  3. If your trial was delayed too long the charges against you could be stayed.
  4. If the violation of your Charter rights brings the administration of justice into disrepute, your charges may be stayed.

Are these Charter remedies automatic?

  1. No. Charter remedies are usually only granted where the criminal defence lawyer asks for them.
  2. Your criminal lawyer must carefully review the file for Charter violations.
  3. Your criminal lawyer must prepare, file and actually argue Charter motions before the trial judge.
  • Make sure your criminal defence lawyer knows the Charter and uses it to your full advantage.
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer what motions he or she will bring on your behalf.
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer whether he or she regurlarly bring Charter motions
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer whether he or she regularly wins Charter motions.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, make sure you have an experienced criminal defence lawyer who knows how to enforce your Charter rights.  Contact a criminal lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth by clicking here or by calling 613 233-4529.