Osoyoos lawyer disciplined over failure to pay sales taxes | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Osoyoos lawyer disciplined over failure to pay sales taxes

An Osoyoos lawyer has been disciplined by the B.C. Law Society for failing to pay collected sales taxes in a reasonable time.
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November 29, 2018 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - An Osoyoos lawyer who says he was unable to get his partner to forward tax remittances to the Canada Revenue Agency has been disciplined by the Law Society of British Columbia.

A three-member panel handed down their decision that found James Peter Young guilty of professional misconduct on Nov. 28.

Young made a conditional admission of professional misconduct and agreed to disciplinary action of a fine of $2,000 following the written hearing.

The hearing concerned four periods in which collected taxes were not submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency, including the period between April1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 when Goods and Services taxes (GST) were collected but not remitted to the agency.

From July 1, 2010 to March 31, 2013, collected Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) revenues and interest were also not remitted to the revenue agency, and again between April 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2015, collected Goods and Services taxes were also not remitted to the government agency.

Finally, between April 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2014, British Columbia Provincial Sales Tax (PST) was collected but not remitted "in a timely way."

Young had been employed by the same firm for nearly 20 years before becoming partner in the firm in 2009, where the administration of the office was in the hands of his former employer.

He became aware of the managing partner’s failure to make the required tax remittances in January of 2011 and approached his partner, concerned about the need to comply with tax payment.

The tax remittances were accumulating, apparently due to a shortfall of funds in the firm due to aggressive drawing by the partners.

Young cut back his own draws to bare minimums, then suffered a series of personal tragedies that included the death of his wife, father and sister, all within an 18-month period.

The lawyer filed a voluntary disclosure to Canada Revenue Agency in the fall of 2014. At that time the firm still owed in excess of $300,000 to the agency, which was aggressively seeking payment.

The firm paid up its PST obligations by Dec. 8, 2015, and by Feb. 17, 2016 the GST and HST payments were fulfilled.

Young apologized for his failure to be more diligent in his efforts with his partner to ensure the firm’s compliancy with tax payments.

The panel, after reviewing other case histories, found Young’s fine appropriate.

The panel noted Young was essentially a victim of his partner’s misconduct, as he attempted to get his partner to deal with the issues prior to suffering a number of personal issues. The decision also noted Young’s acknowledgement of responsibility for the misconduct.

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