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Sheryne Mecklai

Sheryne Mecklai

Tax Partner at Manning Elliott Vancouver
by Sheryne Mecklai
June 26, 2017

Good News for Professionals Earning Contingent Fees

The ability for professionals to elect to exclude WIP in income for taxation years starting after March 21, 2017, has been eliminated. This also negatively impacted professionals who are earning income on a contingency basis.

CRA recently added the following to their website providing an “out” for professionals who earn income on a contingent basis (emphasis added):

“Under the terms of a contingency fee arrangement, all or a portion of a designated professional’s fees may only become known and billable at some time after the taxation year in which the professional provided services under the arrangement (e.g., where, under the terms of a written contingency fee agreement between a personal injury lawyer and a client, legal fees are only billable by the lawyer on a periodic basis as amounts are received by the client under a negotiated settlement or a court judgment). Until such time, there is often no liability on the professional’s client to pay any fee; consequently, no amount is receivable by the professional until the right to collect the amount is established.

Under these circumstances, for purposes of determining the value of the professional’s work in progress at the end of the year, no amount would normally be recognized. As a result, the proposed change to eliminate the ability of designated professionals to elect to use billed basis accounting is not expected to have any impact on these types of contingency fee arrangements where the terms and conditions of such arrangements are bona fide.”

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For more information regarding this topic, please contact the Manning Elliott Tax team.


The above content is believed to be accurate as of the date of posting. Tax laws are complex and are subject to frequent changes. Professional advice should be sought before implementing any tax planning. Manning Elliott LLP cannot accept any liability for the tax consequences that may result from acting based on the information contained therein.