Over the past year the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has implemented an ‘Offshore Tax Informant Program’ in hopes of fight international tax evasion. The CRA promises to compensate individuals who help catch tax evaders.
The Financial Post has reported that this program has generated over 1,000 calls and has led to over 100 active cases. The success of this program banks on the CRA actually putting forth resources to investigate these cases which can take number of years.
Programs like this have been around for number of years, the Internal Revenue Agency (IRS) in the United States has had a similar programs since 2006. Other agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have similar programs as well. It was just a matter of time before the CRA followed suit.
With falling tax revenues and increasing deficits the governments are scrambling to find a solution. These program have been launched in hopes of ensuring public confidence in the tax system and to increase tax revenues.
At the beginning of April 2013 the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released a report which indicated the issue of world tax evasion and included names of 450 Canadians. In the months following Gail Shea the National Revenue Minister committed $30 Million to find tax evaders. The report by ICIJ help shed the light on how much money was actually being stored offshore. Other governments around the world are also taking note of this problem.
In the Future
However despite having knowledge of the individuals that hold off shore bank accounts the CRA has yet to prosecute anyone. The investigations will be time consuming and complex, it could be years before we see any cases in court.