Tax evasion in Canada, or the practice of not reporting or underreporting income in order to avoid paying taxes, is a serious crime, and can carry with it steep fines and sometimes even a lengthy jail term. But getting prosecuted for tax evasion seems pretty unlikely, right? Wrong! Take a look at this short list of some of the many convictions that took place over the summer.
- Gary R. Campbell, of Hilton Beach, Ontario, pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to file his 2007 to 2010 personal income tax returns and 22 counts of failing to file corporate tax returns for several businesses from 2004 to 2010. This resulted in a combined fine of $26,000.
- Victoria Bailey, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to file corporate income tax returns from 2008 to 2010 and was fined $2,000 per count.
- Sam D’Ambrosio, of Brampton, Ontario, pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to file a personal income tax return. He was fined $1,000 per count for a total fine of $3,000.
- Elliot Fromstein, of Keswick, Ontario, pleaded guilty to 25 counts of failing to file corporate income tax and GST returns for various businesses from 2003 to 2010. This resulted in a fine totaling $25,000 ($1,000 per count).
- Marc Richard, of Timmins, Ontario, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of failing to file personal and corporate tax returns for a number of different businesses from 2007 to 2010. He was fined $1,000 per count, for a total of $12,000.
Know you’ve underreported or not reported all of the income you earned in a given year? As these examples highlight, CRA has the will and the way to find out. Just because you haven’t avoided claiming on an ‘Al Capone’ type level, doesn’t mean that you are safe from prosecution. Our best advice? Take advantage of the Voluntary Disclosure Program, a program offered by CRA to give taxpayers the chance to disclose fully any tax errors on past returns. If accepted, you are safe from prosecution and penalties and are only required to repay the initial tax debt.
Don’t wait for CRA to catch up with you. Owing money to the government is not a crime, but failing to file your income tax returns is. Protect yourself from the fines and penalties that all too often hit average citizens hard. Use the Voluntary Disclosure Program to get things straightened out.
For more information about the Voluntary Disclosure Program please contact Tax Solutions Canada today by calling 1-888-868-1400.