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Tax Controversy & Litigation

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and other Canadian tax authorities invest vast, specialized resources in conducting tax audits and pursuing tax reassessments. Especially in recent years, the CRA has been revisiting domestic business structures and transactions, closely scrutinizing international transfer pricing arrangements, and conducting more tax audits aimed at perceived "aggressive tax planning" or "abusive tax avoidance". The CRA is also using its powers under the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act to compel the delivery of a wide range of domestic and foreign-based tax information. Businesses operating in, or with, Canada are facing heightened regulation and information management requirements in today's tax audit environment, which can frequently lead to tax controversies or the need for formal tax appeals.

Our Tax Controversy & Litigation group advises clients at all stages of the dispute resolution process, including through sensitive tax audits, formal tax appeals and alternative dispute resolution procedures and negotiations with tax authorities, and in tax litigation before the courts. Taking a proactive, client-focused approach, we provide effective and strategic representation that leads, in many cases, to a favourable resolution without the need for formal litigation. When resolution is not possible at the audit or administrative appeal levels, our tax litigation team applies its courtroom skills, capably representing clients before the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, various provincial trial and appeal courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada, as necessary.

Our specialized national team of taxation professionals has extensive and recent experience in cutting-edge tax audit issues, including the scope of tax audit and requirement powers, claims and disputes involving privilege, and tax-related exchange of information. We represent clients in all types of Canadian federal and provincial tax disputes, involving income taxes, goods and services tax and provincial sales taxes (GST/HST/PST/RST/QST), customs and tariffs matters, excise taxes, capital taxes, payroll taxes, and withholding tax matters. Our team deals with the full spectrum of Canadian tax issues faced by today's businesses, including the most complex issues involving general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR), specific statutory anti-avoidance rules, transfer pricing, and competent authority relief and mutual agreement procedures.

Our lawyers are also deeply involved in the Canadian tax community, being active members of professional organizations such as the International Fiscal Association and the Canadian Tax Foundation. They also serve on many committees involving officials from federal and provincial tax authorities and Canadian tax courts, and frequently present and write on current tax issues. Our thought leadership allows us to seamlessly develop and leverage our resources to maximize the impact that we can have before government decision-makers in preventing, addressing and resolving tax controversies.

In brief, companies facing tax audits, tax appeals or tax litigation retain Blakes because of our record of success in effectively and efficiently resolving tax-related controversies. We are trusted for our commitment to providing dedicated and practical legal representation that is always sensitive to our clients' business priorities.


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