On June 10, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, announced today that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has received information from international allies that relates to persons resident in Canada with assets offshore.
“Our Government takes the abuse of Canada’s tax laws seriously. We have reached out to key international partners and have been working to obtain this data in accordance with our tax treaties,” said Minister Shea. “We are now in possession of information on Canadians with offshore assets and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes.”
Canada’s close relationship with our tax treaty partners exemplifies how countries can use exchange of information to help uncover offshore assets of Canadians. The data that the CRA has obtained is voluminous and requires substantial review which is currently underway. Given the magnitude and complexity of the data, the CRA will perform a thorough analysis and take actions as appropriate.
On May 9, Tax Commissioners from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced that they had obtained data exposing cases of potential tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, and Minister Shea secured a commitment that information relevant to Canada stemming from this data would be shared.
“Today, we are seeing the significant benefits of Canada’s ongoing and close collaboration with our international partners to combat the use of offshore tax havens,” said Minister Shea. “Our network of information-sharing agreements, as well as the strong enforcement measures we are implementing, is good news for hard-working, law-abiding Canadians who pay their fair share and bad news for tax evaders in this country.”
The Harper Government is taking strong action to tackle international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Key enforcement measures proposed in Economic Action Plan 2013 include: the new Stop International Tax Evasion Program, the mandatory reporting of international electronic funds transfers over $10,000 to the CRA, new reporting requirements for Canadian taxpayers with foreign income or properties, and streamlining the judicial process that authorizes the CRA to obtain information from third parties such as banks. Minister Shea also recently announced a $30 million investment to target international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.
As a result of the Harper Government’s efforts to address international tax evasion, the use of CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program has seen significant increases and the CRA’s in-depth understanding of international tax evasion and avoidance continues to grow.
Failure to report income from domestic or foreign sources is illegal, and Canadians should know that the CRA actively pursues cases of non-compliance. Tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance can lead to significant taxes, interest, and penalties. Tax evasion can also lead to fines and/or jail time.
Canadians should come forward if they have information on suspected cases of tax evasion or avoidance through our Informant Leads Program, either by phone at 1-866-809-6841 or over the Internet at www.cra.gc.ca/leads.
Canadians should also take this opportunity, if necessary, to correct their own tax affairs through the use of the Voluntary Disclosure Program.