Tax evasion crackdown could recoup $2.6B: minister
National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier answers a question as she makes an announcement on new initiatives to combat aggressive tax avoidance and offshore tax evasion during a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, Monday, April 11, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Monday, April 11, 2016 11:25AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 11, 2016 12:53PM EDT
The federal government says it expects to recoup $2.6 billion in unpaid income taxes over the next five years with an “aggressive” plan to combat tax evasion.
Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier explained Monday how the Canada Revenue Agency plans to tackle the problem in light of the massive Panama Papers data leak, which shed light on how world leaders, celebrities and executives use offshore accounts.
More than 11 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca were released to international media outlets, detailing assets that have been held in tax-sheltered offshore accounts. High-profile names in the leak include Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who resigned over the scandal.
Even before the Panama Papers were released, the Liberal government set aside $444 million over five years to help the CRA go after tax evaders.
Lebouthillier said that money will be used to hire 100 additional auditors and add more resources to review international transfers of more than $10,000. The CRA will first review transactions involving the Isle of Man, a small British Crown dependency located between Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The CRA will also create an independent offshore compliance committee that will advise the government on tax evasion and avoidance schemes.
As part ofthose efforts, the government expects to recoup $2.6 billion in unpaid taxes over five years, Lebouthillier said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that tax evasion is an ongoing issue, and the Panama Papers only highlight the need for the international community to work together.