More About Cris

Tax: A love story

If you go back to where it all started, you find yourself in Berwick, Nova Scotia in the 1970’s. It's the only time and place I would choose to grow up and it's where I developed my work ethic and my values. I realized the important role a community can play in shaping a generation. I'm grateful to those members of the Valley community who took an interest in my generation. Today, my wife and I try to give our children the same positive experiences we had growing up, which is why we found our way back to the Annapolis Valley in 2009. 

I didn’t set out to be a lawyer. My first business venture involved a company that I started with 2 co-workers in the construction industry. My immediate interest was in the accounting and management of the business. Although I enjoyed the camaraderie of the job sites and the sense of pride in a job well done, I was eager to learn everything about business in the construction industry. I would never be satisfied relying on external advisors to provide answers for my many questions. These questions drove me to retire from the construction industry at 25 to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree.  

During my degree I worked at a grocery warehouse in Saskatoon. No one could have predicted what an important role that job would play in the direction of my career. Among all the student employees was a fellow commerce student who was a year ahead of me in the program. He was majoring in accounting and loved to give advice; some of which was that accounting would be too difficult for me. I took the challenge and completed the degree with a top three mark in all core accounting classes.  

Tax courses are notoriously difficult and not surprisingly, my 'academic advisor' friend counseled me to avoid tax classes if I was to survive. Naturally, I enrolled as soon as I could and I loved tax right away. As the questions became more complex, the interplay among provisions of the Income Tax Act became increasingly difficult to manage, but this only drew me in further. The sense of accomplishment from understanding an area that very few others do compelled me to excel in the study of tax. 

As much as I enjoyed tax accounting, I was often disappointed with some of the answers given within the curriculum. All too often, my professors would state: “Well, that is more of a question for a tax lawyer than a tax accountant”. I needed those answers. I applied for law school.  

While I was driven to law school in search of answers to tax questions that arose in an accounting context, I learned much more than I expected. The study of law introduced an entirely new way of thinking about tax problems and their answers. The Income Tax Act is intended to represent a complete set of rules; however, the interpretation and application of these rules is based on legal principles developed through case law from many legal disciplines. The interaction between a seemingly comprehensive set of rules and the application of broad legal principles makes income tax a unique field of law. 

Following graduation, I continued my tax training among some of the finest tax minds in western Canada at the largest law firm in Saskatchewan. I gained uncommon experiences by delving deep into the detailed provisions of the Act while contemplating the tax impact of enormous multi-national transactions.

I've moved back home to the Annapolis Valley, to where it all began and where I know my wife and I can raise our children with all the same positive experiences we were given. I continue to build on the experiences I had in Halifax with my first business, the challenges provided during my accounting and law degrees and finally the depth of work in a large law firm environment. I am proud to call the Annapolis Valley home and to provide local business owners with high quality tax advice just down the street from your businesses.

To speak with Cris; call 902.385.0458 or send an him email at cris@btwlaw.ca.