CRA Starts Tracking Tax Cheats by Fingerprinting April 1, 2017

It’s no April Fool’s joke: fingerprints of convicted tax cheats will be recorded in the Canadian Police Information Database (CPID), and accessible by Canadian police and border guards as well as some foreign agencies including the US Homeland Security department starting April 1, 2017.

The mandatory fingerprinting policy was first reported by the CBC, which uncovered the directives under the Access to Information Act, and Moneysense Magazine. Both reports refer to an internal CRA memo on the matter as well as a July 7, 2016 directive, which authorizes the policy and begins tracking those tax cheats who want to leave the country on April 1, 2017. Changes were made to the CRA’s internal policy manuals last fall to accommodate the policy changes.

According to the CRA, persons charged with offenses under the Income Tax Act, Sections 239(1), 239.1 (which references definitions in Section 163.3(1) which will apply here) and 239(1.1) are to be fingerprinted. Those sections are worth the read; as they set out the circumstances in which taxpayers can get themselves into this kind of hot water, and the expensive penalties associated with the crimes:

ITA 239 (1) Every person who has

(a) made, or participated in, assented to or acquiesced in the making of, false or deceptive statements in a return, certificate, statement or answer filed or made as required by or under this Act or a regulation,

(b) to evade payment of a tax imposed by this Act, destroyed, altered, mutilated, secreted or otherwise disposed of the records or books of account of a taxpayer,

(c) made, or assented to or acquiesced in the making of, false or deceptive entries, or omitted, or assented to or acquiesced in the omission, to enter a material particular, in records or books of account of a taxpayer,

(d) willfully, in any manner, evaded or attempted to evade compliance with this Act or payment of taxes imposed by this Act, or

(e) conspired with any person to commit an offence described in paragraphs 239(1)(a) to 239(1)(d),

is guilty of an offence and, in addition to any penalty otherwise provided, is liable on summary conviction to

(f) a fine of not less than 50%, and not more than 200%, of the amount of the tax that was sought to be evaded, or

(g) both the fine described in paragraph 239(1)(f) and imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

Offenses re refunds and credits

(1.1) Every person who obtains or claims a refund or credit under this Act to which the person or any other person is not entitled or obtains or claims a refund or credit under this Act in an amount that is greater than the amount to which the person or other person is entitled

(a) by making, or participating in, assenting to or acquiescing in the making of, a false or deceptive statement in a return, certificate, statement or answer filed or made under this Act or a regulation,

(b) by destroying, altering, mutilating, hiding or otherwise disposing of a record or book of account of the person or other person,

(c) by making, or assenting to or acquiescing in the making of, a false or deceptive entry in a record or book of account of the person or other person,

(d) by omitting, or assenting to or acquiescing in an omission to enter a material particular in a record or book of account of the person or other person,

(e) willfully in any manner, or

(f) by conspiring with any person to commit any offence under this subsection,

is guilty of an offence and, in addition to any penalty otherwise provided, is liable on summary conviction to

(g) a fine of not less than 50% and not more than 200% of the amount by which the amount of the refund or credit obtained or claimed exceeds the amount, if any, of the refund or credit to which the person or other person, as the case may be, is entitled, or

(h) both the fine described in paragraph 239(1.1)(g) and imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

In addition, those convicted under the Excise Tax Act – under Sections 327(1) and 327.1 (reference to definitions in ITA section 285.01(1) which will apply here) will be finger printed:

ETA 327 (1) Every person who has

(a) made, or participated in, assented to or acquiesced in the making of, false or deceptive statements in a return, application, certificate, statement, document or answer filed or made as required by or under this Part or the regulations made under this Part,

(b) for the purpose of evading payment or remittance of any tax or net tax payable under this Part, or obtaining a refund or rebate to which the person is not entitled under this Part,

  •   (i) destroyed, altered, mutilated, secreted or otherwise disposed of any documents of a person, or
  •   (ii) made, or assented to or acquiesced in the making of, false or deceptive entries, or omitted, or assented to or acquiesced in the omission, to enter a material particular in the documents of a person,

(c) willfully, in any manner, evaded or attempted to evade compliance with this Part or payment or remittance of tax or net tax imposed under this Part,

(d) willfully, in any manner, obtained or attempted to obtain a rebate or refund to which the person is not entitled under this Part, or

(e) conspired with any person to commit an offence described in any of paragraphs (a) to (c),

is guilty of an offence and, in addition to any penalty otherwise provided, is liable on summary conviction to

(f) a fine of not less than 50%, and not more than 200%, of the amount of the tax or net tax that was sought to be evaded, or of the rebate or refund sought, or, where the amount that was sought to be evaded cannot be ascertained, a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $25,000, or

(g) both a fine referred to in paragraph (f) and imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Finally, those convicted under Sections 380 (Fraud), 462.31 (laundering the proceeds of crime) or other indictable offences under the Criminal code that are applicable to a tax evasion prosecution will be fingerprinted.

Tax and financial advisors should apprise their clients of the new developments and encourage voluntary compliance to avoid onerous consequences and expenses.

Additional Information about changes to the ITA and the ETA can be found in EverGreen Explanatory Notes.

Evelyn Jacks is President of Knowledge Bureau, Canada’s leading educator in the tax and financial services, and author of 52 books on family tax preparation and planning.


Posted under: Income Tax

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