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Montreal Restaurants Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Says Tax Lawyer

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Is Revenu Québec on a witch hunt?

Revenu Québec holds Moishes' feet to the fire
Revenu Québec holds Moishes' feet to the fire
Randall Brodeur

First Moishes. Now Normand Laprise.

Is Revenu Québec deliberately targeting Montreal restaurants? Kind of, says tax lawyer Paul Ryan in a CTV News interview.

"Revenue Quebec has been after a lot of restaurants lately," said Ryan.

In an attempt to reach a zero deficit, Ryan said Revenue Quebec is auditing more people and businesses than ever.

The article insinuates that the way in which the provincial agency calculates restaurant taxes is suspect.

For example, if a restaurant has wine sales totalling $50,000, Revenue Quebec assumes that wine accounts for, say, 20 per cent of all sales. Revenue Quebec estimates the restaurant should then have $2 million in total sales. If the restaurant only declared sales of $1.2 million overall, Revenue Quebec demands they pay taxes on the difference – in this case $800,000.

Moreover, if a restaurant owner offers a table a bottle of wine, Revenu Québec expects the business to pay tax on the bottle as well as the meal they assume should have come with it. That seems unduly harsh. The rush to judge restaurants guilty before innocent is bad for business, declares Ryan to CTV: "The word is starting to spread around that doing business in Quebec is more and more difficult due to many factors, including [taxes]."


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