Jason Guthrie from the BeancounterBlog posted an interesting article yesterday … reminding me why I subscribe to his blog!
It should be noted, that in Canada .. the official CRA word is …
…” Paying the taxes you owe is not only your responsibility – it’s the law …”
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) uses many tools to identify those who fail to file an income tax return, register their business account, or provide the CRA with complete and accurate information.
The CRA has the authority under the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act to use a number of tools to get delinquent filers to comply, including civil and criminal prosecution that can lead to fines, penalties, and even jail.
Don’t let it happen to you!
If the CRA suspects that you failed to meet some or all of your tax obligations, it may decide to conduct an audit. Once this audit is completed, and if an adjustment is required, the CRA will send you a Notice of Reassessment. If you do not pay any amount owed, plus applicable interests and penalties, CRA collections officers will take action to collect it and any interest and penalties that apply.
If you do not file the required returns and statements, the CRA can also seek a court order for you to comply. Alternatively, the CRA can recommend to the Department of Justice that you be prosecuted for failing to file the required returns and statements.
On summary conviction, the court may fine you 50% to 200% of the tax evaded and sentence you to a jail term of up to two years. When proceeding by indictment, the court may fine you 100% to 200% of the tax evaded and sentence you to a jail term of up to five years.
In cases of gross negligence, the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act allow the CRA to also assess a penalty of up to 50% of the unpaid tax or the improperly claimed benefit.
The CRA publicizes court convictions to maintain confidence in the integrity of the self-assessment system and as a deterrent to increase compliance with the law. The information released to the media comes only from court records and not from confidential information held by the CRA.
If you wish to come forward and correct previously omitted or erroneous information, you can do so through the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program. If you make a full disclosure before any compliance action or investigation is started, you may only have to pay the taxes owing plus interest.
For more information, visit www.cra.gc.ca or call 1-800-959-8281 (toll free).
This document is also available for download in .pdf format.