CRA Reports on Progress re Panama Papers

HazloLaw’s tax dispute resolution and litigation lawyer, Dean Blachford, wants Canadians to know that on June 11, 2019, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue issued a statement with updates regarding CRA’s response to the Panama and Paradise Papers leaks.

As of March 31, CRA had commenced 1,100 audits with offshore links and had an additional 300 in the pipe. They also have 55 ongoing investigations, presumably for potential criminal prosecution. The Minister also provided an update on the Offshore Tax Informant Program, stating the Program has identified over $50 million in additional federal taxes and penalties and approximately $19 million has been collected.

CRA credits its increased funding from the Federal Government and international data sharing initiatives for these results. But CRA’s response has received significant criticism for its failure to keep up with other countries in collecting the unpaid tax identified through the leaks and for the fact that – more than 3 years after the Panama Papers leak – no criminal charges have been laid. Liberal Senator Percy Downe recently asked, “Why does the Canada Revenue Agency move so swiftly and diligently to punish domestic tax evaders, but take so long to pursue Canadians who hide their money overseas?”

To read the Minister’s statement, click here.

To learn more about the criticism of CRA’s response to the leak, click here.

If you or one of your clients has undeclared tax or undisclosed foreign assets, click here to read Dean’s analysis of the 2018 changes to the Voluntary Disclosure program, click here.