By Staff | April 17, 2009 | Last updated on April 17, 2009
3 min read
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With the income tax filing deadline fast approaching, Canada Revenue Agency wants to reiterate that cheating on taxes is not only wrong, it’s illegal.

The CRA says tax cheats face fines, penalties, and even jail, in addition to the fact they must always pay the taxes they tried to evade.

In 2007/2008, the CRA says criminal investigations led to convictions in 299 cases of tax evasion or fraud — a 96% conviction rate of the files prosecuted. Courts across Canada imposed close to $27.5 million in fines. Offenders were sentenced to a total of more than 44 years in prison.

Convictions for tax evasion, including not filing tax returns and making false declarations, can result in court imposed fines of up to twice the taxes evaded, plus jail time.

Tax cheats will get some reprieve if they come clean before the CRA reviews their filings on taxes, the CRA says. It’s Voluntary Disclosures Program is available to taxpayers who want to correct their tax affairs before the CRA begins any audit action or investigation.

If a filer makes a full disclosure before the CRA starts any compliance action, they only have pay the taxes owing plus interest. They will not have to pay any penalties nor face prosecution in the courts.

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RBC Asset Management makes fund changes

RBC Asset management is proposing to change the investment objectives of the RBC Canadian Diversified Income Trust Fund and the RBC DS North American Focus Fund, subject to unitholder approval.

In the case of the RBC Canadian Diversified Income Trust, the investment objectives would be amended to permit the fund to increase its investments in common and preferred shares of Canadian companies that pay dividends.

This proposed change would provide the fund with a larger universe of investment opportunities, and would still include REITs and income trusts that could be used to enhance its monthly cash flow.

The fund will be renamed the RBC Canadian Equity Income Fund.

The RBC DS North American Focus Fund is one of a group of funds distributed exclusively through RBC Dominion Securities which proposes the investment objective be amended to permit the fund to invest primarily in equity securities of U.S. companies in order to provide targeted exposure to opportunities in U.S. equity markets. As a result the fund will be renamed the RBC DS U.S. Focus Fund.

RBC will seek required unitholder approvals at special meetings to be held on or about June 26, 2009 in Toronto. If the necessary approvals are received the proposed changes to investment objectives and the name changes will take effect on or about July 1, 2009.

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Firm offers “advisor exclusive” IPPs

MRS and actuarial firm Gordon B. Lang and Associates have teamed up to offer advisors exclusive distribution of individual pension plans to their business owner clients.

The Total IPP will offer a one-stop solution for advisors looking for ways to get their clients into an Individual Pension Plan that could end up reducing administration costs — many of which can be associated with legal and actuarial costs.

MRS says IPPs are best suited to self-employed individuals who have incorporated a company or professionals that are employed by a corporate entity and who earn an income of at least $100,000 per year.

GBL & Associates will manage compliance for the product.

“We are providing a seamless integrated approach to individual pension plans that will save advisors and their clients’ time and money,” says Andrew Dalglish, CEO of MRS. “The high quality and service-oriented approach of the Total IPP product helps cut out the red tape, allowing advisors more time to focus on their clients.”

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Manulife agrees to say-on-pay

One of the lone holdouts amongst Canada’s large financial service firms to resist say-on-pay measures, Manulife Financial announced it will now adopt non-binding shareholder votes on executive compensation, starting at its annual meeting in 2010.

“The board’s initial recommendation that shareholders vote against ‘Say on Pay’ this year was based on the lack of support for the proposal among Manulife shareholders in 2008, as well as the views of Canadian institutional shareholders, many of whom opposed an advisory vote until just recently,” says Manulife chair Gail Cook-Bennett.

“Since the release of Manulife’s proxy circular we have seen the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance come out in favour of ‘Say on Pay’, and have also heard from many shareholders who now support the measure, so the board decided to respond.”

(04/17/09) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.