Auditing/Bad advice from an accountant...
First of all I'm Canadian. I'm just looking for your gut feeling on the situation described below:
About 5 years ago my girlfriend's ex-husband's accountant told him that she could claim the child tax benefit for their 4 children then they could split up the benefit however they wanted. This year she was audited by the CRA for the child tax benefit and found out that the accountant's advice was incorrect. As a consequence she has had her child tax benefit reduced from $1200/month to $300/month, and now want her to pay $18 000. Does she have any legal recourse in this matter since an accountant gave bad advice to her ex-husband?
Looks like her options are few without knowing why the CRA disallowed her claim. In the end, because you sign your own tax return, you are responsible. She could call the CRA and explain what happened, sometimes they can provide some kind of punishment to the accountant. She could also sue the accountant and possibly her ex-husband for the bad advice and attempt to recover the lost funds and the fine. Suing the accountant and ex-husband might be difficult because she would have to prove the bad advice. Perhaps it was the ex-husband providing the bad advice because he gave the accountant misinformation? She might also ask if she could refile those older returns differently, like married single instead of joint, sometimes that makes a difference if they will allow it.