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Tax EvasionIt is common knowledge that CRA is aggressive in their attempts to prosecute taxpayers they feel have, in some way or another, not complied with tax legislation. Where there is tax evasion (not reporting all income, fictitious expense deductions), average individuals being hit with major fines and/or a prison sentence is common; from average to a criminal record in one tax mistake.

From January to March, there have been over 30 convictions for income tax evasion and other tax infractions. You don’t have to be Al Capone to be charged with tax evasion. As far as CRA is concerned, small business owners and individuals seem to be as fair a target as any major corrupt business or crime boss. Average Canadians continue to be prosecuted. Here are just a few examples of Canadians who have been caught in the crossfire.

January 2014:

–        B.C resident Reginald Reid Jefferd was found guilty in Duncan Provincial Court of failing to file his 2001 to 2010 personal income tax returns. He was fined $10,000, the entirety of which must be paid by July 14, 2014.

–        Ontario resident Jacob Macedo pleaded guilty to eight counts of failing to file personal and GST/HST returns. As a result, he was fined a total of $8,000 and given one year to pay the fine in full.

February 2014:

–        Marco-Pierre Caza, of Quebec, was found guilty of tax evasion after claiming inadmissible expenses on his 2006 to 2008 income tax returns.

–        Nova Scotia resident Steve Fakolujo was fined over $87,000 after incorrectly claiming expenses on his 2011 tax return, as well as given a conditional sentence of twelve months to be served in the community.  The entire amount must be paid within one year.

March 2014:

–        Mitchell Rygiel of Manitoba pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was fined over $48,000 after failing to accurately report his income. He was given 12 months to pay the fine in total.

–        Ontario resident Perry Tohn was charged with 10 counts of failing to file GST/HST returns, to the tune of $1,000 per count. The total ($10,000) must be paid in full within six months.

Do not wait until you are being prosecuted.  Working with a professional who has detailed knowledge of CRA processes and procedures can help you avoid the ugliness of criminal court. The right professional firm can steer you through other CRA programs that help to both avoid criminal prosecution and obtain payment terms on the taxes. The tax, interest and penalties are difficult enough to pay (even over time) so do not risk getting a criminal fine (or jail time) to make that worse. If you are at all worried about incorrect or missed tax filings and payments see a professional immediately.

Remember, letting things go too far, thereby resulting in a criminal record, can have dire consequences. If a potential employer asks (as many do) whether you have a criminal record, the result could be the loss of a potential position. Also, the ability to travel can be severely circumscribed once that black mark is on your record. Once CRA has secured a conviction, your life can change in the blink of an eye.

For more about how to protect yourself from CRA prosecutions for tax evasion, please contact Tax Solutions Canada today by calling 1-888-868-1400.