Panama Papers: CRA executing search warrants in $77 million tax evasion case
March 28, 2019
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced a search in relation to a significant offshore tax evasion case. On March 28, 2019, two search warrants were executed to find further evidence in the $77 million case. 40 criminal investigators took part in the major operation that unfolded in Vancouver.
A CRA investigation uncovered a series of transactions involving offshore tax havens in an alleged attempt to evade payment of $77 million in non-resident withholding tax. The relationships between the domestic and offshore entities involved were confirmed through various information sources, including records obtained through the “Panama Papers” leak.
The CRA’s search today, along with other recent searches relating to offshore tax evasion and money laundering demonstrates that progress is being made to crack down on serious tax evasion.
This investigation is one of the 52 international and offshore tax evasion cases that the CRA is currently undertaking, including five that involve taxpayers named in the Panama Papers.
The CRA shifted its approach to criminal investigations over the past few years to focus on more sophisticated tax schemes, including offshore tax evasion. The CRA is currently investigating cases representing over $400 million in potential federal taxes evaded.
From April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2018, the courts convicted 36 taxpayers of tax evasion with links to offshore money and other assets. This involved $33 million in federal tax evaded and court sentences totaling approximately $11 million in court fines and 734 months (61 years) in jail.
The courts have also recognized the severity of tax evasion and the average jail sentence is now 35 months.
Anyone who has specific and credible information about major international tax cheating should call the Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP) line at 1-855-345-9042 (North America) or 613-960-4265 (collect calls will be accepted). Further information on how to submit information can be found at Canada.ca/offshore-tax-informant.
The CRA has set up a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current on the CRA’s enforcement actions.
Offshore Tax Informant Program
Informant Leads Program
Voluntary Disclosures Program
Canada Revenue Agency
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