The Montreal courthouse is seen on March 27, 2019. A Quebec court judge has ruled against a law firm that tried to deduct the cost of a lavish wedding for the daughter of one of its lawyers as a business expense. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The Montreal courthouse is seen on March 27, 2019. A Quebec court judge has ruled against a law firm that tried to deduct the cost of a lavish wedding for the daughter of one of its lawyers as a business expense. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Law firm can’t deduct wedding costs as a business expense, Quebec court finds

Spiegel Sohmer could not write off the $75,000 it reimbursed to lawyer Robert Raich, judge rules

A Quebec judge has ruled against a law firm that tried to deduct the cost of a lavish wedding for the daughter of one of its partners as a business expense.

Judge Daniel Bourgeois of Quebec court ruled last month that the firm Spiegel Sohmer could not write off the $75,000 it reimbursed to lawyer Robert Raich and that Raich needs to pay taxes on the amount as a benefit.

The decision states that Raich, a tax lawyer, had argued that he’d thrown the sumptuous Montreal wedding party for his daughter Jacqueline in part to strengthen ties with the firm’s clients. His daughter testified that she hardly knew or didn’t know at all the business associates invited by her father.

“The marriage took place in Montreal because, (Raich) said, he wanted mainly to promote the interests of Spiegel Sohmer and demonstrate his appreciation to his clients and business associates,” the Jan. 15 decision said, noting that the daughter and her groom lived in the United States.

Raich claimed nearly half the cost of the $169,000 wedding on a firm expense account, reasoning that 97 of the 218 guests were his clients or business associates. The firm reimbursed him the $75,242 he sought, and claimed the amount on its 2012 tax filing.

Revenue Quebec took issue with the deduction and refused it on the basis that a wedding is clearly personal in nature.

Bourgeois agreed, noting that family events are generally considered to be personal, and that Raich failed to provide convincing evidence to prove the wedding was an exception.

“Despite the audacity displayed by Mr. Raich during his testimony, he did not in any way affect the presumption of validity of the assessments issued by Revenue Quebec,” the judgment read.

Furthermore, nobody from Spiegel Sohmer testified at trial to support the lawyer’s claims or prove the event represented a significant business opportunity, indicating a “certain lack of interest” in their former managing partner’s tax challenge, Bourgeois wrote.

His decision upheld the revenue agency’s tax assessment for the firm, as well as the decision to consider the reimbursement as a taxable benefit to Raich.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen recently won a $1-million prize with Lotto 6/49. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen recently won the $1-million prize in a Lotto 6/49 draw. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen wins Lotto 6/49 $1-million prize

Ticket was purchased at Abbotsford’s FreshCo for the March 6, 2021 draw

Coquihalla elementary Grade 1 teacher Jenny Mossey hands out saplings to students at Rotary Park for them to plant themselves, on April 13, 2021. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Coquihalla students pitch in with Rotary Park re-planting efforts

Popular Hope park trail improved after trees with root rot removed

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
Former Chilliwack man charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Prolific offender Kao Macaulay, 23, accused of breaking into home on March 30

About 80 demonstrators walked through Hope with signs in support of saving the Station House on March 23, 2021. (Photo/Christian Ward)
Public hearing now planned for Hope’s Station House decision

Council has now taken steps to remove heritage status from historic building

The City of Chilliwack website now has a panel full of customization options for people with disabilities, including an ADHD Friendly Profile. (chilliwack.com)
VIDEO: City of Chilliwack website offers new options for people with disabilities

The website now has a panel allowing users to adjust just about everything to suit individual needs

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read