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

Jennifer Rice MLA for the North Coast said on International Women’s Day March 8, that thousands of frontline superheroes in health, education, childcare, food, and community services who help us daily through the pandemic should be celebrated. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
British Columbia North Coast MLA, Jennifer Rice spoke with The Northern View on Jan. 7, 2021, at a proper social distancing length to explain the goals and focuses in the riding and for the provincial government for the upcoming year. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
International Women’s Day celebrates leadership in 2021

Celebrate the thousands of frontline superheroes … who help daily - North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice

Haida Gwaii man, Keifer Collinson is shown in his audition video for T.V. reality show Big Brother where he promoted the Haida language in the March 3 episode. (Photo: supplied)
Haida man promotes First Nations language on national T.V. show

Haida Gwaii born Keifer Collinson promotes the importance of language preservation on Big Brother

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

Prince Rupert’s Bobby Brown celebrated his 95th birthday milestone on March 5 with family across the country in an online celebration. (Photo: supplied by Jodi Brown)
Prince Rupert man celebrates 95th birthday milestone online

Five generations come together COVID-19 style in Prince Rupert to say “Happy Birthday”

Main door at Cranes Crossing, Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter, on March 5. Northern Health issued a public notice of potential exposure occurring at the shelter between Feb. 22 and 24. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 Public Exposure Notice issued for Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter

Northern Health said possible exposure between Feb. 22 and 24

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

Most Read