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Opinion

Taxpayers DO have the right to remain silent

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A taxpayer-friendly unanimous Federal Court of Appeal ruling came out this week in MNR v Cameco [2019 FCA 67]. At issue was whether or not the Minister (through the CRA) has the authority to compel oral answers to oral questions from taxpayers or their employees.

In his ruling, Justice of Appeal Rennie stated “…the Minister does not have the power to compel a taxpayer to answer questions at the audit stage…”, however, it may be in the best interest of the taxpayer to provide reasonable answers to reasonable questions in order to expedite the process. The full entire ruling can be found and read here

This ruling simply re-confirms, that even in an audit, you (and your staff) have the right to remain silent, and that the Minister’s powers are limited to physical evidence.

An exception to this is you are required to provide assistance in locating and providing that physical evidence, which may need to be orally.

Personally, when dealing with a very large number of taxpayers on our own office, we want to be certain that the file that the CRA is talking about is the same file in front of us. As such, we are a firm believer in the Canadian Home Builders’ Association motto that is ironically supported by the Government of Canada: “Get it in Writing.”

I am not advocating answering no questions, as the Minister (CRA) still has the ability to issue reassessments, thereby shifting burden of proof to the taxpayer further to disprove the reassessment.

I am, however, advocating at a minimum to get those questions detailed, and in writing. This will help to provide clarity and allow for proper thought in your answers as opposed to stating something with unintended consequences.

Here is a little example of what happens when you don’t get it in writing: in my dark-side days as a field auditor with the (then called) CCRA, we used to ask prying questions that the taxpayer had no idea they were answering.

For example, in one particular circumstance I was reviewing a file where it was suggested that the taxpayer was doing under-the-table cash jobs. This meant I would have to be creative in figuring out the taxpayer’s cost of living, and ruling out other sources of income.

Meeting in a quiet restaurant in a small Saskatchewan town, I was eventually able to have the taxpayer relaxed enough to think that we were having a normal conversation. Just a couple of ‘Riders fans that aren’t a fan of Ottawa, but hey, I have a job to do. When the taxpayer started complaining about the government, I joined in:

“Hey, I hear you. I’m not some suit from Ottawa. I’m from Regina. I mean both the feds and the province already get enough out of me from tax on my smokes.”

I don’t smoke.

The taxpayer didn’t know that, but the anger was timely because the province had just raised up the cigarette tax the previous year so packs were well over $6 a pack.

“Yeah I know”, the taxpayer said, “I smoke a pack a day”.

Music to my ears as a tax auditor, the taxpayer just told me that they need ($6 x 365) = $2,190 of after-tax income just to feed their cigarette habit.

I continued, “That’s terrible! Between getting our money on that, and getting it at the casino, it’s just crazy how much they make it hard to enjoy our weekends.”

“Yeah, I don’t win nuthin’ at the casino either,” the taxpayer stated.

To me I heard ‘I didn’t have any non-taxable casino winnings. In fact, the taxpayer likely had lost money in the year. This means the taxpayer needed to have more disposable income to gamble.’

The conversation continued for a good 30 minutes. Once I was armed with more knowledge of the taxpayer’s lifestyle and spending habits, I went to work. Bank statements, receipts, mileage information, fuel costs, type of vehicle, etc.

We would use information tools not only from Statistics Canada for price of fuel in different regions, we would also use websites like www.fueleconomy.gov that provide different estimated fuel consumption based on type of use and mileage going back to cars from the 1980s. Then we work backwards to see if the numbers made sense with respect to the taxpayer’s vehicle and costs.

When it was all said and done, I used the results of our conversation against the taxpayer. When I was finished, I found over $30,000 in an income variance between the taxpayer’s living costs and change in net worth compared to what was reported. Not only that, but the taxpayer had already backed themselves into a corner because of the questions that were answered which I had documented.

My guess is that in conclusion, the taxpayer thought they should have got the questions in writing instead of meeting me at a restaurant.


Cory G. Litzenberger, CPA, CMA, CFP, C.Mgr is the President & Founder of CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors; you can find out more about Cory’s biography at http://www.CGLtax.ca/Litzenberger-Cory.html

CEO | Director, Canadian Tax Advisory CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors With the Income Tax Act always by his side on his smart-phone, Cory has taken tax-nerd to a whole other level. His background in strategic planning, tax-efficient corporate reorganizations, business management, and financial planning bring a well-rounded approach to assist private corporations and their owners increase their wealth through the strategies that work best for them. An entrepreneur himself, Cory started CGL with the idea that he wanted to help clients adapt to the ever-changing tax and economic environment and increase their wealth through optimizing the use of tax legislation coupled with strategic business planning and financial analysis. His relaxed blue-collar approach in a traditionally white-collar industry can raise a few eyebrows, but in his own words: “People don’t pay me for my looks. My modeling career ended at birth.” More info: https://www.CGLtax.ca/Litzenberger-Cory.html

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Opinion

The Real “Conservative Movement”

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The Real “Conservative Movement”
Open Letter to the Silent Majority
 
October 21, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Red Deer – Mountain View, AB
 
Fred, a friend of mine from Didsbury, accurately described the “conservative movement” to me when I was out door knocking in September. He stated that the movement consists of at least six factions: Internationalist, Financially Responsible, Democratic Representative, Morally Responsible, Freedom Focused and Free Enterprise individuals. The Conservative Party of Canada is currently beholden to the Internationalist faction resulting in corruption and expulsion of “dissenters” from the other factions.
 
In order to provide a legitimate “conservative” option for Canada, we need to address these areas:
 
Communication: How can our internal and external communications be improved?
  1. Organization: How can we better support each other?
  2. Platform: What are our core principles?
In order to provide a legitimate “conservative” option for Canada, we need to focus on the following:
  1. Parental Authority
  2. Democratic Rights
  3. Compassion for the Vulnerable
  4. Fiscal Responsibility
  5. Accountability
We need to put aside our petty differences and find common ground. Canadians are eager for a political movement that focuses on the pillars noted above. They are looking for strong leaders who will champion family, freedom and free enterprise. If you are one of these leaders, please reach out to me at [email protected] and let’s build a strong grassroots coalition that can restore prosperity in Canada.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jared Pilon
Libertarian Party of Canada
 
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COVID-19

My kid has covid. Now what do we do? – Dr. Peter McCullough Interview Part 2

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This may seem a little strange because I’m going to willingly breech my own doctor / patient confidentiality.  I’m not sure what my obligation is here but I know doctors are guided by the Health Information Act (HIA) and the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).  Nowadays though we all know that every time I go to coach my son’s hockey team I have to divulge my health information in front of whoever happens to be near me in front of a stranger in the entrance of a hockey rink.  In other words, I’m guessing I’ll get away with this.

Recently I asked my doctor the same question we all should be asking our doctors.  “If I get a positive covid result and I’m symptomatic, can I call you and ask for some kind of treatment?”

My doctor answered in the way I suspect most doctors would.  He looked at me quizzically and said “You mean in hospital?  You’ll be treated by the doctors there.”

That’s not what I meant and I said, “No.  I mean if I have symptoms.  Will you offer me treatment to help me stay ‘out’ of the hospital in the first place?”

My doctor is a pretty good egg and I like him and all but from his response I know that if (when) I get covid I am going to be in the same position as almost every other Albertan.  I will go home and isolate and pray that this doesn’t get serious.

I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned that doesn’t seem good enough. I’d like to think there are treatments out there and maybe that’s why I really like to research articles with data regarding Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine  (not to mention Zinc and vitamins D, and C).  Months ago these were just stories.  Then I started to meet people who told me about a family member or friend who quickly bounced back after taking treatment for covid.  Then I met a couple of those people myself.  Now I’m convinced there’s something to all these articles I’m reading.

The studies say (so does my experience with people I know) that these treatments don’t work every time.  However, if you could save even 10 percent of lives and keep even 10 percent of people out of the hospital by taking an inexpensive drug that has no serious side effects, why wouldn’t you promote the living (beep) out of that?  Seriously?  What if it was 20 or 30 or 50%.  It’s incredible to me that so many people will turn their noses at something like Ivermectin because someone on TV called it ‘horse dewormer’.  For my opinion of the people who block their ears and yell “HORSE DEWORMER” see here.  If you’ve been doing that, please stop. I guarantee you someone you know and maybe even love has either taken Ivermectin, or they’re going to want to some day. You may not know there are actually quiet a few studies.  Maybe you haven’t met anyone who swears they turned around within hours of getting treatment. But trust me, the people making decisions for us (the politicians at the very top and even more importantly the health officials) know there are treatments out there.  They’ve just chosen not to pursue them.

While those who supposedly follow the science denounce studies that looked extremely promising but were really too small, or studies that were done so far away that we simply don’t know enough to give them credence, other people who also  supposedly follow the science have found some very interesting data themselves.  Just check out this beauty from the American Journal of Therapeutics, called Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection, published back on June 21 of 2021.  This is way better than 10%. This looks really promising. This is also being completely ignored by our political leaders. Don’t ask me why. Seriously don’t ask unless you have at least 2 tall boys.

The bottom line is, after all I’ve read and seen and the people I’ve met, I refuse to believe there is no such thing as a treatment for covid.  I know they’re coming out with new ones for this specific purpose, but I’m convinced by data that there are repurposed drugs that are already doing the job. Not perfectly of course, but far better than say .. nothing.

This really gets me when I think about my children.  The thought of one of my kids getting covid and then becoming symptomatic, and then getting really ill, and then not being able to access treatment when I’m pretty sure there’s something out there that would help them…  That’s not a very nice thought.  It became real for me recently when a good friend told me his son (same age as my son) tested positive.  He knows I’m keeping up on this as much as I can and he texted to let me know (and I think ask if I could recall some of the things I’ve said to him about treatment).  I shared the video I’m sharing here, below.  I also emailed links to two very similar resources for us regular folks who can only talk about the people who actually follow the science.  I’ll include these links because I think they’re REALLY worth looking at.  Especially because there’s literally nothing else to look at when someone in your household gets a positive test result.  Here’s the Guide to Home Based Treatment for Covid from the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, and here’s the Guide to Covid Early Treatment from a group of US doctors on their website TruthForHealth.

The video below refers only to children but the two “home treatment” guides are helpful for people at any age.  I hope you never need this kind of info, but personally I don’t think we’re going to achieve the magical zero covid even if we take all the vaccine in the world. This very nasty virus is here to stay.  The way we’re going to get back to living like we should be, is with EARLY treatment.. as in BEFORE we’re deathly ill in the hospital.  I suspect we’re about 6 months away from recognized and emergency approved early treatment pills that will eventually swoop in and save the day for the vast majority.  But seriously, who cares if you put out a fire with water, or retardant, or a cut line, or by stomping on it with your foot? The important thing is that you start fighting fire as soon as you can.  For me?  I’m happy to start by throwing a little dirt on this campfire while I wait for the water bombers.

Thanks for checking this out. If you need a bit more convincing that early treatment even exists.. check out this next article.

Emergency of Under-Treatment – Panel of 8 prominent doctors and scientists say earlier treatment is the only way out of health emergency

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