Harper Government cracks down on international tax evasion

January 7, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canada Revenue Agency

The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue, today announced the launch of the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) initiative, introduced in Economic Action Plan 2013 as one of several new measures to crack down on international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.

Effective January 1, 2015, certain financial intermediaries, including banks, have to report to the CRA incoming and outgoing international EFTs of $10,000 or more. These reports will allow the CRA to better identify higher risk taxpayers and files and, in turn, more effectively identify taxpayers who participate in international aggressive tax avoidance and attempt to conceal income and assets offshore.

Our Government’s efforts to combat international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance are already paying dividends. In fact, the Auditor General of Canada confirmed in his two recent reports on Offshore Banking and Aggressive Tax Planning that the CRA is getting the job done. Taxpayers are taking notice too. Since 2008, the CRA has seen a dramatic increase in the use of the Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP). VDP disclosures related to offshore issues reached a record level in 2013-2014, with an increase of almost 42% from the previous year’s figures, helping the CRA to identify more than $300 million in unreported income. Consequences can be serious for those that do not come forward. From April 2006 to March 31, 2014, the CRA has convicted 62 taxpayers for tax evasion, involving $20 million in evaded federal taxes, court fines of approximately $12 million, and 701 months of jail time.