New initiatives were introduced in the federal government’s recent budget to strengthen the capacity of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to crack down on international tax avoidance and evasion, Minister of National Revenue Gail Shea said.
“Our government has long recognized that international tax evasion is a serious problem,” said Shea. “These new measures will provide the CRA with additional tools to combat tax cheats.”
Shea’s comments follow her request to have the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveal the names of Canadians who hold an offshore bank account. The Consortium claims to have acquired 2.5 million digital files relating to more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and almost 130,000 individuals — 450 of them are Canadian.
The federal budget proposes the following measures to combat international tax evasion and close tax loopholes to ensure tax fairness for all Canadians:
• Launching a new Stop International Tax Evasion Program to allow the CRA to pay individuals with knowledge of major international tax non-compliance a percentage of tax collected as a result of the information provided
• Requiring financial institutions and others who currently report information on international electronic funds transfers greater than $10,000 to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) to also report those transactions to the CRA
• Streamlining the process for obtaining information on third parties in the course of conducting an audit to speed up the process and allow the CRA faster access to information on unnamed individuals for the purposes of civil actions
• Introducing new requirements for Canadian taxpayers with foreign income or properties to report more information, along with extending the amount of time the CRA has to reassess those who have not properly reported this income.
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