Government of Canada cracks down on tax evasion
April 11, 2016 Ottawa, Ontario Canada Revenue Agency
The Government of Canada has committed to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance. Most middle class Canadians pay their fair share of taxes, but some wealthy individuals avoid taxes by hiding their money in offshore tax havens. This is not fair and it needs to change. These wealthy Canadians should not be able to buy their way out of paying the income tax that they owe.
Today, the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, announced that the Government of Canada will invest over $444 million to enhance the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) ability to detect, audit, and prosecute tax evasion – both at home and abroad.
Since January 2015, the CRA has collected information on all international funds transfers over $10,000. Building on this new capability, Budget 2016 provides the Agency with the ability to more fully examine potential tax evasion across an entire jurisdiction. The first to be investigated will be the Isle of Man – additional jurisdictions will follow.
Audits and Investigations
In order to combat tax evasion and tax avoidance, the CRA will create a special program dedicated to stopping the organizations that create – and promote – these tax schemes for the wealthy. This will result in a twelve-fold increase in the number of tax schemes examined by the CRA. This team will apply penalties and refer cases for criminal investigation, where appropriate.
The federal investment will give the CRA the ability to hire more auditors and specialists. This will increase the number of examinations focused on high-risk taxpayers – from 600 per year to 3000 per year – and will bring in $432 million in new tax revenue. In addition, the new government funding will help the CRA bring in 100 additional auditors to investigate high-risk multinational corporations, a strategy that will collect an additional $500 million in revenue over five years.
Penalties and Prosecution
To make sure these investments deliver results, the CRA will embed legal counsel within investigation teams, so that cases can be quickly brought to court. Taken together, the CRA will use the latest investigative tools and technology, paired with larger investigative teams, to detect more cases of tax evasion that result in the appropriate charges, fines, and penalties.
In addition to this unprecedented investment, the Minister also announced a number of concrete steps that the CRA will take, including:
- bolstering international collaboration to fight tax evasion,
- creating an independent advisory committee on offshore tax evasion and aggressive tax planning; and
- beginning work to estimate the tax gap, so that Canadians and Parliamentarians have confidence in the fairness of the tax system.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made a commitment during the campaign to strengthen the CRA and its ability to crack down on tax evaders. Today’s announcement delivers on that promise.
“Our government has promised Canadians a tax system that is fair and responsive to their needs. The unprecedented investment made in the CRA’s activites through Budget 2016 will fundamentally change our ability to identify and pursue both domestic and offshore tax evasion and avoidance. That means a tax system that is applied fairly to all and delivers real results.”
“Our government is working hard to give Canadians greater confidence that the tax system is fair to everyone. Those who hide income and assets offshore or try to evade or avoid paying the tax they owe will be identified and will face consequences.”- The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue
- New funding to crack down on tax evasion and fight tax avoidance is expected to return $2.6 billion in revenue to the Crown over five years.
- Electronic Funds Transfers to the Isle of Man totalled $860M in a 12 month period and the CRA has assessed the risk for all 3000 funds transfers involving approximately 800 taxpayers. The CRA will expand its analysis to other jurisdictions as well as financial institutions of concern this year with a second project set to begin in May 2016.
- This year, through the Voluntary Disclosures Program, the CRA is on track to identify $1 billion in income that would otherwise have been hidden. That is an increase of almost 400% over the last six years. More information on the program is at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures/
- Backgrounder: Playing a leadership role: what Canada is doing to promote international cooperation on tax evasion
- Backgrounder: Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee
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Chloé Luciani-Girouard, Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Revenue
Canada Revenue Agency
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