Two weeks ago, the first GLGI test case was decided in court, and the decision has been cited as a devastating loss for GLGI clients. In the case of Mariano v. Her Majesty the Queen, Justice F.J. Pizzitelli found that participants did not ‘have the intent to donate’ and thus were participating in the program solely for personal gain. This means, in this case at least, that any charitable donations claimed through the GLGI program are null and void, and any monies granted by a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax credit are now required to be repaid, in full, with interest and penalties.
For any individuals who have been awaiting this judgement, the ruling is most unwelcome, and has led many to conclude that all further cases will mirror Mariano v. Her Majesty the Queen. An Appeal must be filed by November 19th, but with the Mariano ruling, a favourable outcome is unlikely.
If you participated in the GLGI program and chose to wait to hear the test case outcomes, rather than accepting CRA’s now defunct offer, you may be facing a substantial tax debt, coupled with penalties and interest. With the court’s approval, CRA will be gunning for you, putting their full weight behind any and all enforcement action.
What kind of enforcement action are we talking about? The options range from a frozen bank account to a wage garnishment to a property lien, all of which are achieved without a court order and once leveraged can be incredibly difficult to remove.
This is not an attempt to scare you, but rather to illustrate the depth to which CRA will go to regain what is believed to be owed – and with this test case ruling, that stands to be a considerable sum.
Perhaps you are considering calling CRA directly to set up a repayment plan. We strongly caution you if you choose to take this route. The goal of CRA agents is to retrieve funds owed, as soon as possible, not over a 12 or 24 month term. As a result, CRA negotiations hinge more on gathering as much information from you, information that will later be used against you, and hitting you with monthly repayment terms that are often difficult to meet. CRA wants their money, it really is as simple as that.
If the most recent GLGI tax ruling has led to sleepless nights, we sympathize. We know that this has been a long an arduous process, filled with uncertainty. Our tax specialists – including former senior CRA agents – can help walk you through your options and get the matter settled before you lose any more sleep.
Call us today for a free consultation: 1-888-868-1400.