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A Quebec Home Renovation Story

30 January 2013

We often talk on this blog about paying for home renovations. And a little while ago we touched on how, if you’re going to be using cash to pay for the improvements to your home, you need to make sure you’re doing it right, and paying all the taxes that you would’ve paying by any other method. But while we did want to stress the importance of honesty in cash transactions, we never thought a judge would come under fire for failing to do so.

The case came to light in a Quebec court, when Judge Ellen Pare and her husband took a granite company to court. That company, say the Pares, installed a granite counter top in their kitchen in 2009; and that since the time of installation it has been cracked in several different places.

The problem? The work was paid for in cash, and Judge Pare and her husband were then in violation of tax law by avoiding the taxes associated with the work.

It was in December that the Pares, as well as a representative from the granite company, stood before Judge Jimmy Vallee in a Quebec court, and listened to him lecture them on neglecting the responsibility of paying proper taxes.

Judge Vallee said that the couple “seemed to not even want to hide” the fact that they had “deprived the government from collecting taxes.”

He went on to say that, “The contract was made in contravention of fiscal law. The contract goes against the public interest and should, as a consequence, be considered void.”

If that were to be the ruling, it would be as though the contract was never written. The Pares would get back any and all money paid, and the granite company would regain their cracked countertop. However, Judge Vallee felt as though the granite company would then unduly profit from such a nullification.

“The company had an obligation to produce results, and to guarantee the apparent defects,” said Judge Vallee, as he ordered the company to pay $1,500 in damages with a 5 per cent annual interest rate, and would also be responsible for all court costs.

But while Judge Pare may have gotten away with it this time, it’s not a fool’s bet to say that a closer eye will be kept on all her taxes from this point forward.

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