The Canadian Tax Audit Protection Plan

April 29, 2008 08:30 ET

CTAPP: New Specialized Legal Services Plan Offers Peace of Mind to Canadian Taxpayers in the Event of a Tax Audit

Members get affordable access to a lawyer in the event Canada Revenue Agency pounces

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 29, 2008) - As the April 30th tax return filing deadline approaches, a new program was launched today offering Canadian taxpayers protection against the possibility of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA - formerly Revenue Canada) coming back for even more money.

The Canadian Tax Audit Protection Plan (CTAPP) is a specialized legal services membership plan designed to provide average Canadian taxpayers with up to 15 hours of legal services by experienced tax lawyers in the event their 2007 income tax return is audited or reassessed by the CRA.

"The cost of legal counsel today is beyond the reach of average Canadians - and with CRA auditing almost 400,000 returns, there's a significant risk to small business as well as individuals that they'll require legal help if they attract CRA audit attention," said David Robertson, creator of CTAPP and President of Sixth Sphere Services Professional Corporation, the provider of the Plan. "CTAPP provides affordable legal services, but more importantly, it provides members with peace of mind - a great alternative to hourly legal rates of up to $900 per hour."

After filing a 2007 tax return, membership in the Canadian Tax Audit Protection Plan is easy - visit www.ctapp.ca and complete an application form. Canadians can also sign up through accountants who are registered as a CTAPP Participating Tax Professional.

The Plan's benefits are clear: if a member's 2007 tax return is audited or reassessed within three years of the date of mailing of their 2007 Notice of Assessment, he or she receives up to 15 hours of legal services from Sixth Sphere, a law firm licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

To become a member, an individual must be up-to-date with their tax fillings and have no outstanding tax disputes or audits. The cost of membership is based on an individual's sources of income and the types of tax deductions and credits they claim. For most taxpayers, the membership fee is less than $20. For self-employed individuals and those with rental income, fees start at just under $50. Annual CTAPP membership is recommended; if no legal services are used in a given year, the 15 hours are transferable to subsequent years of membership up to a maximum of three years or 45 hours.

Joining Sixth Sphere as counsel to the firm is the Honourable R.D. Bell, Q.C., former judge of the Tax Court of Canada.

"The vast majority of individuals and small businesses appearing in Tax Court do so without a lawyer," noted Mr. Bell. "Consider the fact that tax laws are the most complex in the country and that the CRA is always represented in court by a lawyer. The Plan ensures that taxpayers who are members have access to legal advice and representation."

Robertson and Bell are not alone in noting the tragic impact high legal fees can have on average Canadians' right to access to justice. Both the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and retired Justice John Gomery have recently raised the impact that skyrocketing legal fees are having. They have challenged the legal community to find solutions.

"As Justice McLachlin has noted," said Robertson, "access to justice in Canada is only a reality for the wealthy who can afford legal counsel, and the very poor who qualify for legal aid. The Canadian Tax Audit Protection Plan addresses this problem by increasing that access, and protecting Canadians from paying a $5,000 retainer before most lawyers will take a case, plus hourly legal rates of $250 to $900 per hour."

For more on Madame Justice McLachlin's comments regarding the problem of access to justice in Canada, see http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/aboutcourt/judges/speeches/Challenges_e.asp.

About David Douglas Robertson

David founded Sixth Sphere Services Professional Corporation with a view to making access to justice and equity in the Canadian tax system a reality for average Canadians. He is a tax lawyer and partner with the Canadian international law firm Fasken Martineau. He has extensive experience dealing with the CRA and provincial tax authorities in connection with tax audits and appeals. He routinely represents clients on tax matters before the Tax Court of Canada, Federal Court of Canada, and Provincial Superior Courts. He previously was with the Department of Justice (Canada) where he represented the Canada Revenue Agency in the Tax Court of Canada and Federal Court of Appeal. He is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia (1995), Ontario's Law Society of Upper Canada (1999), the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Tax Foundation, and The Advocates' Society. He is also a specialist in GST, PST, and other sales taxes. David was born and raised in Stettler, Alberta.

About the Honourable R.D. Bell, B.A., LL.B., LL.D., Q.C.

From 1991 to 2006, Mr. Bell was a judge of the Tax Court of Canada where he witnessed first-hand the problems faced by average Canadian taxpayers and small businesses dealing with the complexity of Canada's tax laws while at the same time attempting to represent themselves in court because they could not afford a lawyer. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Mr. Bell was a founding partner of the Alberta-based tax law firm Bell Felesky Flynn. From 1959 to 1978, he practiced tax law with Fenerty & Co. in Calgary, Alberta, one of the law firms that now forms part of Fraser Milner Casgrain. He was also formerly legal counsel to the Department of National Revenue. Mr. Bell is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, a former Chancellor of Brandon University, and is now Chancellor Emeritus. He has also been associated with a number of charitable causes, many associated with music, and is presently a very active member of the Board of Directors of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

About Sixth Sphere Services Professional Corporation

Sixth Sphere Services Professional Corporation is an Ontario professional law corporation and the provider of The Canadian Tax Audit Protection Plan™. The Plan is a specialized legal services plan designed to protect the rights of average Canadian taxpayers and small businesses by making legal services affordable to them, ensuring they are treated fairly in their dealings with the Canada Revenue Agency. The company was founded with the vision that access to Justice should be a reality for all Canadians and that they should be able to afford and have access to a lawyer and legal representation.

Contact Information