CRA executes two search warrants in BC real estate sector tax evasion case
December 18, 2019
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced today that it executed two search warrants in Vancouver in its continuing efforts to combat domestic tax evasion and non-compliance in the real estate sector.
On December 18, 2019, 16 CRA investigators took part in the operation, searching for evidence corresponding to the commission of offences against the Income Tax Act, Excise Tax Act, and the Criminal Code. The searches were conducted as part of an ongoing CRA criminal investigation that identified approximately $3 million in unreported income in an alleged attempt to evade payment of tax.
The CRA has placed a significant focus in major centers such as the Lower Mainland in British Columbia, where there are consistently high numbers of real estate transactions. Today’s announcement further demonstrates how this focus is helping combat non-compliance and leveling the playing field for those who pay their taxes.
Combatting non-compliance in the real estate sector requires a multi-pronged approach. This includes taxpayer education, publishing convictions, as well as collaborating with industry and government partners to reduce the social acceptability of, and participation in, the underground economy.
Tax evasion is a crime. Falsification of records, claims and CRA documents, wilfully not reporting income, or inflating expenses can lead to criminal charges, prosecution, jail time, and a criminal record. Under the income tax and excise tax laws, being convicted of tax evasion can include fines ranging from 50% to 200% of the evaded taxes and up to five years in jail. Being convicted of tax fraud under section 380 of the Criminal Code carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.
In 2018-2019, there were 22 convictions, with 12 taxpayers sent to jail for a total of 19 years. These individuals were sentenced for wilfully evading payment of $4,179,089 in taxes.
The CRA has set up a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current on the CRA’s enforcement actions.
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