The Criminal Investigations Program

The Canada Revenue Agency's Criminal Investigations Program investigates significant cases of tax evasion and, where appropriate, refers cases to the Government of Canada's prosecution service for prosecution.

The Criminal Investigations Program focuses on the most serious cases that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • significant, and/or material cases of tax evasion with an international element
  • promoters of sophisticated and well organized tax schemes aimed at defrauding the government
  • joint financial crime cases with other enforcement agencies, including cases of tax evasion involving money laundering and terrorist financing
  • significant, and/or material cases involving income tax and/or GST/HST tax evasion, including the underground economy

Consequences if convicted

Under the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act, individuals convicted of tax evasion can face court fines ranging from 50 percent to 200 percent of the taxes evaded and up to five years in jail.

In some cases, an individual may be charged with fraud under section 380 of the Criminal Code, which, if convicted, carries a jail term of up to 14 years in jail.

Court convictions are published in local, regional and national media to draw attention to the consequences of tax evasion and fraud. The CRA may also seek publicity at earlier stages of an investigation to warn Canadians of tax and fraud schemes.

Getting results

Working with the CRA's Criminal Investigations Program, for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, federal prosecutors had an 88 percent conviction rate.

From April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, the work of the CRA's criminal investigators led to:

  • the conviction of 50 taxpayers involving $16 million in federal tax evaded
  • court sentences totalling approximately $4 million in court fines and 534 months of jail time

Of these tax evasion convictions, five had links to money and/or assets held offshore. This involved approximately $1 million in federal taxes evaded. The offshore convictions led to court fines of $1 million and 172 months of jail time.

Over a five year period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2016, the work of the CRA criminal investigations led to:

  • the conviction of 508 taxpayers for tax evasion involving approximately 120 million in federal tax evaded
  • court sentences totalling $40 million in court fines and 2,930 months of jail time

Of these tax evasion convictions, 42 had links to money and/or assets held offshore involving 34 million in federal taxes evaded, court fines of 12 million, and 734 months of jail time.

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