For several years, the CRA has increasingly sought to crack down on so-called tax cheats. In a June 9 release, the government and CRA say “some wealthy Canadians continue to find ways to not pay what they owe, which places an unfair burden on Canadians,” specifically those who “pay their share of taxes.”
The release notes Diane Lebouthillier, minister of national revenue, has launched an online consultation to get commentary from Canadians on CRA’s proposed changes to tighten its Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP).
The call to make changes to the VDP follows an extensive review of that program that was completed in response to the recommendation by the Standing Committee on Finance. The CRA also received advice from the minister’s Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee.
The proposed changes to the VDP include:
- narrowing the criteria of who is eligible;
- ensuring severe cases of non-compliance do not benefit from the same level of penalty and interest relief;
- ensuring requests that disclose proceeds of crime are excluded from relief; and
- requiring payment of the estimated taxes owing as a condition to qualify for the program.
The CRA’s comment period will be open for 60 days. The CRA will announce changes to the program in the fall of 2017.
- The Government of Canada has invested nearly $1 billion in the 2016 and 2017 budgets to crack down on tax evasion. This investment is expected to have a federal revenue impact of over $5 billion over the next five years.
- The VDP gives taxpayers an opportunity to voluntarily come forward and correct previous omissions in their dealings with the CRA.
- The Voluntary Disclosures Program applies to disclosures relating to income tax, excise tax, excise duties under the Excise Act, 2001, source deductions, GST/HST, and charges under the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and the Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006.