Quebec judge chided for evading taxes on home renovations

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MONTREAL -- A Quebec Court judge chided a fellow judge for paying for kitchen renovations under the table.

However, even though Judge Jimmy Vallee ruled that his colleague used cash to avoid paying taxes for renovations to her kitchen, he still awarded her $1,500 worth of damages.

Judge Ellen Pare and her husband sued a granite company for a botched installation of a kitchen counter in 2009. The couple claimed the granite counter was cracked in several places.

In a December ruling, Judge Vallee said that Pare and her husband "seemed to not even want to hide" the fact that they paid in cash for renovations to their home, which "deprive(d) the government from collecting taxes."

"The contract was made in contravention of fiscal law," Judge Valle wrote in his ruling. "The contract goes against the public interest and should, as a consequence, be considered void."

However, Vallee nonetheless awarded Pare and her husband $1,500 with a 5% annual interest rate, as well as court costs.

He said Quebec law stipulates that if a contract is null, it is deemed to have never existed and each side should get back what they initially exchanged.

Vallee said that forcing the couple to give the counter back would have unduly advantaged the granite company. Moreover, he ruled that the company, according to Quebec law, still had a responsibility for the work it executed.

"(The company) had an obligation to produce results ... and had to guarantee the apparent defects," Vallee ruled.

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