You HAVE to ask for legal advice. Seriously. No really…. Seriously!
You cannot trust that your friends… even the smartest friend on the planet… will give you good advice. They may want to, but often they are as in the dark about the Laws of Canada as you are, and rightfully so. There are a LOT of Laws, and it is improbable to know them all.
That’s why there are lawyers.
Every time I encounter someone with a legal problem, they invariably start with “Well, my friends told me I could…” It’s sad, but true: friends often get friends in trouble without meaning any harm. This is most often true with the Law.
I don’t care how intelligent the person… or, for that matter, how much life or business experience a person has, the key to surviving an increasingly complex and argumentative society is proper advice.
Let’s face it: you cannot know everything, nor can you be expected to know everything.
For this reason, I frequently have people come up to me at parties, events, sporting events, and social gatherings of all manners and kinds to ask my opinion about their legal cases.
My advice is frequently this: “Have you spoken to a lawyer other than myself about your case?”
Their answer is always the same: “No.”
When I ask them why they have not spoken to a lawyer about their case, I always get the same answers:
“Too expensive?”, “Is it that important?”, and/or “Is it that bad?”
The answer is that it is NOT expensive, it IS important, and it might very well be that bad!
I will tell you about very recent experience to illustrate my point.
A man called to see me after seeing my web listing on Google, and called for a free consultation about his tax matter. I am a tax lawyer with some 15 years experience, both inside of the Canada Revenue Agency, and outside of it. So, his inquiry made sense.
After talking with him, it became clear that, from the facts I was able to elicit from him, that his case was only incidentally about taxes. It was, in fact, a matter involving potential fraud allegations of both a criminal and civil law nature. I also noted that IF he had filed his taxes a certain way, then he would have been possibly admitting to facts that could, down the road, be used against him either by the plaintiff in his other case, or by the police in their investigation.
My conclusion was for him to seek the advice of criminal and civil law lawyer as quickly as he could in order to gather the best advice about how to proceed.
Sure, he walked away from our meeting, and I had not retained him as a client, but that did not bother me. I had given him the best legal advice I could: Seek further information from a lawyer who is specialized in the fields of law that pertained to his legal problems. I told him that I could always, later on, help him with his tax problems, but the important take-away was that he knew that he needed a criminal lawyer’s advice before proceeding further with any other matter.
That is why it is always best to seek assistance regarding your rights under the Laws of Canada and Ontario, or in any other jurisdiction. In this case, he inquired about taxes, but what he really needed was for someone to look at his facts, and to figure out what his next step was in seeking legal advice.
It is like going to your doctor: first, you start with your general practitioner/family doctor. Then, if you need additional medical advice, your doctor will suggest a specialist.
In my case, I lost a potential client, but I gave him the best advice I could, which was to find a lawyer specialized in the field for which he needed answers.
The Bible advocates to “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
That’s just a really complex way of saying that all of you should not wait until you find out, at a social occasion, that there is a lawyer around so that you can ask them questions. Go online now, pick up a phone, and get the information you need.
Most lawyers offer free consultations. If the one you call charges for consultations, then call another. It does not have to be expensive to discover your rights. Most lawyers I know are more than willing you assist without payment for an initial consultation.
And remember that most legal problems seem simple, but rarely are. I always say that every legal question is just the tip of an iceberg, and that, with more discussion, all sorts of legal implications might come to the surface.
So, in conclusion, you need to realize that everybody needs legal advice… a lot. The world is filled with legal problems, often through no one’s fault. It is just the consequence of living in a world that is bound by laws and rules of behaviour. Life is a metaphorical legal minefield. Isn’t it best to get advice on how to find and deal with those ‘mines’ before they find and deal with you??
If you need legal advice, of any sort, but especially on tax disputes with the Canada Revenue Agency or regarding any tax questions at all, please feel free to contact Robert Wrong at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.rcwlaw.ca.
Wrong Tax Law