Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ottawa should name and shame offshore tax cheats

Fun with pirates
Oh, to be among the affluent Canadians hiding their fortunes in offshore tax havens. Not only does their money multiply beyond the taxman’s reach, but in the unlikely event they are prosecuted, their crimes against the public probably won’t ever be publicly known.

The Canada Revenue Agency says nine people were convicted of offshore tax evasion over the past two years, receiving $4 million in fines and 84 months of jail time. But it won’t say who these people are.

Strange, given that, as Marco Chown Oved reported in the Star on the weekend, the agency regularly publishes the names of dozens of small-time offenders, including many vulnerable Canadians who have merely fallen behind on their tax payments.

The CRA says this double standard is inevitable. By law, the agency is allowed to publish only information already in the public record. So if a tax cheat strikes a deal with the government, and the nature of the scheme does not appear in court documents, the offender cannot be identified as an offshore tax evader.  (more...)


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