Sunday, November 6, 2016
While the trend in Canadian jurisprudence over the last decade has been a steady increase in the protection of solicitor-client privilege, the question of its application to other professionals, including accountants has been raised both in Canada and abroad. In 2013, the UK Supreme Court in Prudential v Special Commissions of Income Tax declined to extend solicitor-client privilege to taxpayers who seek advice from professional accountants. In the United States, federal legislation offers only narrow protection to accountants who are “federally authorized” tax practitioners. In Canada, the courts have refused to extend solicitor-client privilege to other tax professionals unless such communication is in furtherance to a function essential to the solicitor-client relationship or the continuum of legal advice provided by the solicitor.
Canadian solicitors Christopher Steeves and Jenna Ward of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP analyze whether accountants are able to exercise legal privilege to protect client's tax information from summons in the context of the recent case Redhead Equipment v Canada. Read their analysis here.