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

Eternity Medical Equipment’s ECAN95 masks have received Health Canada approval and CSA certification. (Eternity Medical Equipment photo)
South Surrey N-95 equivalent manufacturer launches mask recycling program

Eternity Medical Equipment partners with Ontario-based LifeCycle Revive

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)
The West Fine Art Show shifts to an online-only event amid tighter health orders

Website version retains the flavour of the annual live exhibition

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read