2005-11-07 14:36:42 UTC
Taxman goes after girl, 12
Daughter becomes embroiled in dad's legal battles with Revenue Canada
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Imagine Abigayle Egeland-Northwood's surprise to find out that she owes
the Canada Revenue Agency $13,000.
She's never had a job, doesn't have a social insurance number and
spends most of her free time playing with her five cats and two dogs.
Oh yes, and she's 12 years old.
"I don't think it's fair because I didn't do anything wrong. I don't
work and I don't drive. I'm just a kid," the girl said in an interview
Her parents feel she's being unfairly targeted because of her father's
dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency. Nelson Northwood maintains that
Parliament has not passed a law requiring Canadian citizens to pay
income tax, an argument he lost in court two years ago. He was ordered
to turn over records so the Canada Revenue Agency could collect some
$700,000 they say is owed.
Last week, the agency went to court again and received an order
allowing a bailiff to seize the personal property of the Grade 7
student, up to a value of $13,000.
So on Wednesday, Abbey arrived home to find bailiffs seizing the 1998
Jeep that her mother Karen Egeland transferred to her name in the
spring of 2005.
"I was mad and I was sad. I thought, "Why are they doing this to us?"
Her father is more blunt.
"She has not been charged with any crime, yet they came up here and
took her private property. They're like witch hunters," Northwood said.
Karen Egeland said there is nothing unlawful about having given her
daughter the vehicle, which Egeland said was hers and not her
While Egeland says she doesn't necessarily share her husband's views
about income tax, she says it's unfair that solely because of being a
family and living in the same home, Abbey is being drawn into the
situation and penalized.
"She is not her dad. She's a separate person and she's a child. She
just turned 12," Egeland said.
She worries what the Canada Revenue Agency will come after next of
Abbey's, and also about the long-term implications on her daughter's
Because of confidentiality, Canada Revenue Agency spokesman Dan McGrath
cannot speak about a specific case.
But speaking generally, he said that a section of the Income Tax Act
deals with situations where people who owe taxes may transfer property
or money to family members, regardless of age.
The person to whom the property or money is transferred can themselves
be liable for the taxes, up to the value of the asset transferred to
them, or the asset can be seized, McGrath said.
"We're obliged to take collection action against those who try to put
their assets out of our reach," he said. "The legislation is to prevent
a person from putting assets out of our reach."
This covers transfers to any age of person who is in a "non-arm's
length" relationship, usually interpreted to be a family member.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005