In case you thought the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would get cold feet when it came to investigating the 1 percent of the 1 percent, the agency reiterated that it won’t hesitate to investigate new evidence of offshore tax evasion in the wake of a second massive leak of tax haven financial records.
The leak of some 13.4 million records, dubbed the Paradise Papers includes the names of 3,000 Canadian individuals and entities who have stashed away millions in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.
Among them are former Canadian prime ministers Brian Mulroney, Paul Martin and Jean Chretien.
Neither the CRA nor any court has determined the Canadians did anything wrong.
Offshore accounts are used by wealthy individuals and corporations around the world as a perfectly legal way to reduce their tax burden, although the anonymity provided to account holders has also led to associations with tax evasion, money laundering and organized crime.
In an apparent attempt to pre-empt the news reports, the CRA issued a statement last Friday, detailing the agency’s efforts to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance, which intensified following the first huge leak of tax-haven records, known as the Panama Papers, in April 2016.
As a result of audits over the last two years, the CRA said it identified some $25 billion in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. And last year, it levied more than $44 million in penalties on tax advisers who facilitated non-compliance with Canadian tax laws.
A spokesman for National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier, said on Sunday that “the CRA is reviewing links to Canadian entities and will take appropriate action in regards to the Paradise Papers.”
Tax avoidance measures involving offshore trusts are legal, provided that the trust is genuinely managed offshore and that Canadian taxes are paid on any Canadian contributions. – CINEWS