Voluntary Disclosures (Tax Amnesties)

The lawyers in the Tax Law Group represent clients who have unreported or underreported their income to the CRA or have failed to comply with other tax obligations, such as the requirement to disclose foreign business assets worth more than $100,000.

The CRA Voluntary Disclosure Program allows taxpayers to come forward voluntarily to amend previous tax filings or advise the CRA about unreported income, off-shore assets, or any other unsatisfied tax obligations.

If a taxpayer’s Voluntary Disclosure is accepted by the CRA, the disclosure will be considered “valid” and the taxpayer will not be charged with penalties or criminal prosecution.  Additionally, the CRA has the discretion to grant interest relief.  For Voluntary Disclosures that extend beyond the three most recent taxation years, interest relief is typically granted.

The Canadian taxation system is a self-reporting system.  The program applies to taxpayers  who either intentionally or unintentionally misfiled their tax filings  The voluntary disclosures program is a good option for taxpayers who wants to bring themselves into compliance with Canada’s federal tax laws. .  

To qualify as a valid voluntary disclosure, your disclosure must comply with the following conditions:

  • The disclosure must be voluntary.  If the CRA has contacted you with respect to an audit, investigation or enforcement action, your disclosure will likely not be voluntary;
  • The disclosure must be complete.  If you come forward, you will need to provide full and accurate information and documentation regarding the years in issue;
  • The disclosure must either involve a penalty or the potential imposition of a penalty; and
  • The disclosure must include information that is at least one year past due.

Dealing with the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosure Program on your own can be daunting. The tax lawyers in the Tax Law Group have extensive experience assembling submissions, negotiating with the CRA employees in the Voluntary Disclosure Program and ensuring compliance with the Program’s rules.  

Our tax lawyers can assist you with initiating a voluntary disclosure on a no-name basis.  This allows our tax lawyers to speak to the CRA on your behalf on a no-name basis at the preliminary stage.  You would then have the option whether or not to complete the voluntary disclosure and provide your name.

Consultations with our tax lawyers are protected by solicitor-client privilege.  We are obligated not to divulge the contents of those discussions and cannot be forced to reveal those discussions except in the rarest of circumstances.  Many of our Voluntary Disclosure clients are referred by prudent accountants and financial planners who are aware that the rules of confidentiality that apply to their professions do not provide the level of discretion that a solicitor can provide.


Sometimes businesses run into financial difficulties.  Trying to run a business while placating anxious creditors is not an activity for the fainthearted.  The Tax Law Group assists by negotiating with creditors, including the CRA, by providing business owners with realistic options with an approach that stresses continuing to make good business decisions.  The lawyers in the Tax Law Group are very familiar with the CRA’s policies for collections matters and the legal rules under which the CRA must operate.  

When a taxpayer is unable to pay a tax liability, the CRA frequently persists in seeking to collect.  For corporations that owe tax, the CRA often seeks to assess the corporate directors and shareholders.  For all taxpayers, the CRA regularly audits family members and friends of tax debtors to determine  if those persons have received gifts or acquired property for less than fair market value from the taxpayer who has the primary tax liability.  The CRA can pursue those property transfers by issuing assessments under section 160 of the Income Tax Act.  Our Tax Group regularly represents taxpayers who are facing a tax liability for the tax debts of their family and friends.