What’s Happening With the Canadian Off Shore Tax Evasion?
As many Canadian taxpayers are aware, there has been quite a bit of news over the discovery of hidden records regarding offshore accounts for the supposed purposes of hiding money for tax purposes. This has resulted in several countries launching an investigation as it pertains to them. It appeared that Canada tax regulators somewhat dragged their feet into getting onto the bandwagon for gaining access to this information. With the amount of publicity that came forward, the government had no choice but to take some type of public stance. Now a few months later our Canadian tax government comes into the spotlight once again to bring an update.
In a recent news release by CBC the article mentions that the CRA had not gained early access to this information of offshore accounts involving Canadians because the CRA apparently has a policy of not paying for information. However, as outlined in the new budget this should no longer be applicable, as there is the new “snitch” policy in place.
It would seem that the CRA is now approaching unchartered waters for them with the ability to pay for this type of information.
So where does it go from here? It would seem that now the CRA does have access to the hidden information, and whether they paid for it or not at this point is not the real issue. The big question is what is the Government going to do with the information, and what type of investigation are they going to institute?
For the average honest tax payer it really is mind boggling how those with less integrity and much more money find the opportunity to stash money that can’t be found by the CRA. To the average citizen there is an element of fear in not following the tax laws. There is a very real concern of being subjected to the repercussions of the tax laws or being charged with tax evasion even as a result of what may have been an innocent mistake. Or for those taxpayers in arrears who fear that coming forward will result in charges. While these types of fears can certainly go to the extreme, and the CRA is not in favor of taking the basic taxpayer to court or looking to throw people in jail, they certainly have the power to enforce the law.
Tax evaders such as those that will be found guilty as a result of data and further investigation will be subjected to the repercussions of tax evasion under Canadian tax law, but how many and to what extent will all depend on the government’s aggressiveness, budget and manpower.
You as an honest taxpayer should continue as you have been, paying attention to and meeting your tax obligations according to the law. Using a Toronto accountant can make this an easy task for you and ensure that you get the legal tax breaks that you may be entitled to.