Underreported Income: The Court’s Power to Impute

Background

The parties were married for 20 years and shared four children.

The father was an accountant and operated his own business. He held licenses to practice in Manitoba and Ontario, though he also did some work in the United States.

The mother had not worked since the youngest child was born in 2012.

Post-separation, it was agreed between the parties that the mother would have custody of the three youngest children and the father would have access. The mother filed an Application for child and spousal support. The Application was granted.

Analysis

In reviewing the father’s financial disclosure, Justice Spence found that the father lacked credibility for a variety of reasons, specifically his income did not correspond to his lavish lifestyle.

The father claimed he earned $12,000 in 2015 and $11,000 in 2016. He did not file a 2017 tax return, despite the fact that he is an accountant. He stated it would be reasonable to impute his income to $30,000 per year based on his 2016 income and personal expenses he charged to the company.

The mother gave evidence that, in the past year, the father had taken numerous trips to New York and spent a week in Pakistan. He had also opened an office in New York City.

Given the lack of disclosure by the father, the court faced a challenge on how to impute his income. To address this problem, the mother offered a survey. The survey, prepared by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, indicated that the husband should have an income of somewhere between $85,000 and $174,000.

Justice Spence imputed income to the father beyond the high end of the survey. He gave several reasons for this, including the father’s experience as an accountant (it was not a new business), the size of his firm, his lack of credibility, as well as his failure to comply with the financial disclosure requirements of the Rules for the year 2017. Based on these factors, income was imputed in the amount of $175,000. The child support table amount, section 7 expenses and spousal support was ordered based on this income figure.

For more information about spousal support and child support laws, contact an Ontario family law attorney at our office. Your first consultation at Feldstein Family Law Group is FREE. Call us today at (905) 581-7222, or fill out an online case evaluation form to get started now.
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