Summary of Decision re: Merrill Carmichael formerly carrying on business as Ledgers Cape Breton

Summary of Complaint and Investigation

Merrill Carmichael, a former member of CPA Nova Scotia, was retained by a client to prepare corporate tax returns and provide accounting advice from 2017 until 2019. The complaint alleged that he did not complete the work he was engaged to do, did not submit the required returns to Canada Revenue Agency, and did not respond to inquiries from the client during that period.

The Investigation Panel imposed an interim restriction on Mr. Carmichael’s practice on October 14, 2020, pending completion of the investigation. The restriction required Mr. Carmichael to provide the monitor with a list of clients and engagements on an ongoing basis. It also required the interim monitor to approve his work product prior to its issuance.

During the investigation, Mr. Carmichael admitted the conduct alleged in the complaint. He also admitted that he did not bring the engagement at issue in this complaint to the attention of the monitor, in violation of the Interim Order in this matter to provide the monitor with a current list of clients and engagements. The Complainant’s file was not on the client list provided to the monitor appointed pursuant to a prior Settlement Agreement with CPA Nova Scotia and approved by a Hearing Panel with respect to prior charges of professional misconduct. The failure to include the Complainant’s engagement on that client list also represents a violation of that Settlement Agreement.

The investigation found that Mr. Carmichael failed to comply with the Interim Order in this matter as he did not notify his clients and prospective clients that his practice was under a monitoring restriction as required by the Order in this matter. He also failed to comply with the Settlement Agreement with respect to a prior matter with the same requirement to provide notice of monitoring to his clients and prospective clients.

Disposition

Following the investigation, the Investigation Panel determined that there is sufficient evidence that, if proven, would constitute professional misconduct, incompetence or conduct unbecoming warranting a registration sanction. It determined that it is in the public interest to resolve the matter with a consensual Reprimand and a Resolution Agreement. Mr. Carmichael is reprimanded for the conduct described above and has agreed to resign his membership in CPA Nova Scotia.

Sanctions

The Resolution Agreement between the Investigation Panel and Mr. Carmichael includes the following terms:

  1. Mr. Carmichael accepts a Reprimand;
  2. Mr. Carmichael will resign from membership in CPA Nova Scotia;
  3. Mr. Carmichael will cease using the “CPA, CA” designation;
  4. Mr. Carmichael will contribute to the costs incurred in the investigation of the complaint and monitoring of his practice in the amount of $11,380 within one year;
  5. Mr. Carmichael will provide the Investigation Panel with a current list of clients within 10 days of signing the agreement; and
  6. Mr. Carmichael will de-register his firm, Ledgers Cape Breton.

 

The Reprimand and Resolution Agreement became effective on June 24, 2021.