Better results: The CRA at work for you

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Introduction

Canada has one of the highest voluntary tax compliance rates in the world, but there’s still a small minority choosing not to pay what they owe.

Tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance deprive our country of important revenues that help fund essential programs and services such as health care, childcare and infrastructure.

Recent Federal Budget investments have enabled the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to invest in better tools and approaches to help receive and analyze more data to find more of those not paying their fair share.

Getting results

Focusing resources on the highest risk files means the CRA is tightening the net on those high net-worth individuals, promoters, corporations and entities who try to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This work is having an impact and the CRA is committed to giving Canadians access to the results of the important work the CRA is conducting to tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.

It is important to note that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, several programs were temporarily suspended as employee workloads shifted to focus on COVID-19 benefit administration and other essential workloads. Audit activity continued throughout the pandemic, but was limited to high-risk audits and exceptional circumstances, meaning results could be lower than previously forecasted.

Criminal investigations

The CRA’s Criminal Investigations Program (CIP) targets and investigates the most serious cases of tax crimes. Suspected cases of tax evasion and tax fraud, and other financial crimes, are investigated and where appropriate, referred to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada for criminal prosecution. Criminal investigations can be complex and require years to complete. Find out more about the criminal investigations process.

Our Results
Description 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
Fiscal Impact - Agency $11.7 billion $12.7 billion $12.5 billion $13.6 billion $14.4 billion $12.7 billion $12.2 billion
Fiscal Impact - Large business, international, offshore, aggressive tax planning $7.8 billion $8.0 billion $8.0 billion $7.9 billion $8.6 billion $6.4 billion $7.7 billion
Fiscal Impact - Abusive tax avoidance & aggressive tax planning $1.4 billion $2.0 billion $1.8 billion $2.9 billion $2.9 billion $2.0 billion $2.8 billion
Cases received for application of General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) (cumulative since inception) 1,267 1,333 1,392 1,472 1,549 1,608 1,694
Cases where General Anti-Avoidance Rule was recommended for application 78% 79% 79% 79% 80% 80% 81%
Real estate audit assessmentsFootnote 1   $169 million $161 million $263 million $434 million $527 million $300 million
Real estate penaltiesFootnote 1   $10 million $7 million $27 million $57 million $77 million $54 million
# of Leads received   32,171 33,005 32,157 32,137 34,019 62,855Footnote 2
# of international exchanges under legal instrumentFootnote 3 1,212 1,075 892 1,838 993 963 682
# of records exchanged under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS)Footnote 4         1.46 million 2.73 million 1.84 million
# of offshore audits completed 98 185 223 235 307 333 231
# of written submissions to OTIP 144 115 110 93 123 171 72
$ in federal tax and foreign reporting penalties assessed through information received through OTIPFootnote 5 N/A $10,148 $1.6 million $31.5 million $50.9 million $62.2 million $101.3 million
Number of taxpayers identified for audit resulting from jurisdiction projectsFootnote 6 N/A N/A 142 123 398 573 530
$ of Third Party Penalties on promoters and tax preparers (all programs)Footnote 7 $36.7 million $212,914 $44.3 million $48.9 million $22.4 million $17.4 million $1.8 million
# of cases referred for criminal investigationFootnote 8 244 377 335 269 252 244 110
# of search warrants executedFootnote 8 39 100 123 172 130 196 14
# of cases referred to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) 21 17 28 36 49 24 17
# of files where criminal charges were laid under the Income Tax Act, Excise Tax Act, and/or Criminal Code 30 19 32 52 61 33 25
# of investigations as a result of joint forces operations with other law enforcement agencies 1 13 12 12 16 19 31
Conviction rate 96% 88% 89% 95% 92% 94% 95%
# of convictions for tax evasion 95 50 37 27 22 32 36
$ of federal tax evaded related to convictions $12.5 million $16.4 million $32.7 million $45.4 million $4.2 million $7.4 million $10.9 million
# of taxpayers sentenced to prison termsFootnote 9 34 22 24 14 12 13 15
# of years of prison terms imposed 57.6 44.5 50.6 40.7 18.5 18.5 26.2
Average jail term (in months) per jail sentence 20.3 24.3 25.3 34.9 18.5 17.1 20.9
$ of court fines imposed $9.7 million $4.1 million $10 million $3.1 million $2.6 million $3.0 million $5.2 million

How you can help the CRA

If you suspect a person, business or charity of tax or benefit cheating in Canada, report them to the CRA by submitting a lead to the Leads Program. Leads can be submitted by phone, mail, fax or online.

You can be eligible to be paid when you tell the CRA about offshore tax evasion and avoidance by using the Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP). If you are aware of deliberate international tax avoidance, let the CRA know.

You can reduce the impact of previous errors in your own tax returns. Under the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP), taxpayers can correct errors in their tax affairs. Recent changes make it tougher for those who intentionally avoid their tax obligations to benefit from the VDP, while maintaining the program for Canadians looking to correct tax filing mistakes.

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