Friday, February 2, 2018

Canadian governments' revenue would soar by billions if tax evasions were stopped

offshore tax havens tax evasion accountability transparency politics business

“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“In this world death is certain for everyone, but taxation is far from certain for those allowed to avoid it.”
-Ed Finn

I recently received an unexpected letter from the Canada Revenue Agency. I always pay my income tax on time, but I still felt some trepidation. When my wife returned from the mail box and gave it to me, she said the expression on my face was akin to that of someone handed a ticking time bomb.

My foreboding turned out to be unfounded. The four-page letter consisted of a detailed analysis of my 2016 tax return, with tables and graphs and a form to fill out and send back to the CRA. I could have trimmed the bureaucratic jargon to a single sentence: “We have reviewed your last tax payment and found that you owe the government an additional $103.26.”

Our budget could withstand this modest amount, but the letter still irked me. I felt that the many days (probably months) that CRA minions devote to re-examining the tax returns of retirees could be better spent trying to collect the billions in tax revenue left uncollected from prosperous plutocrats and profitable corporations.

The extent of this stupendous tax avoidance was disclosed last year by the release of the Paradise Papers. These leaked files identified many thousands of individuals and companies that secrete income and profits in foreign tax havens to escape domestic tax payments. These financial hideaways have proliferated in many places around the world, including the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands -- the modern “pirates of the Caribbean.”

Among the plutocrats and profiteers named by the Paradise Papers as users of tax havens were more than 3,000 Canadian entities, mostly large business firms and wealthy families.  (more...)


offshore tax havens tax evasion accountability transparency politics business
Pirates of the Caribbean

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