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Dealing With Tax Evasion: Canada is Aggressively Pursuing Evaders

Offshore Account Update

Posted in on June 30, 2017

The use of offshore bank accounts has long been a common tactic by investors who want to keep some of their wealth private and who may not want the IRS to know about every asset they own.  In recent years, however, countries nationwide have been cracking down on the practice of offshore banking as a method of tax evasion or tax avoidance. This has made it difficult or impossible to keep offshore accounts private and to ensure the accounts do not come to the attention of taxing authorities.

Canada is one of the many countries that has been fighting tax evasion using a variety of different tools and techniques, including a Voluntary Disclosure Program. Canada's efforts to identify those with offshore funds and take action has been and will continue to be enormously successful, with Bloomberg BNA reporting that Canada is on track to collect around $9.6 billion in offshore tax evasion cases.

This eye-popping amount of money collected means that those who were accused of evading taxes have lost substantial sums of money because of the Canadian government's crackdown. Investors in the U.S. have also been faced with aggressive IRS action leading to large fines and penalties. Anyone with money offshore who is not in full compliance with tax laws is at risk of losing big money to the government, and should talk with a New Jersey international tax attorney to determine what their options are for trying to protect as much of their wealth as possible.

Billions of Tax Dollars Have Been Collected From Evaders

Bloomberg BNA wrote about Canada's success in collecting money from alleged tax evasion by investors with offshore accounts. Canada has taken many different steps to make it easier to find and go after people with funds offshore they didn't declare or pay taxes on, and their efforts are paying dividends for the government.

From 2016 to 2017, Canada's tax agency convicted 42 different taxpayers of offenses related to offshore tax evasion. Those convicted were sentenced to a total of 734 months in prison. The taxpayers who were convicted evaded approximately C$34 million in tax dollars. 

Canada is continuing its path towards aggressively pursuing cases against tax evaders. It has made a funding commitment of more than C$1 billion in an effort to fight tax evasion.  The National Revenue Minister commented on the progress in collecting unpaid taxes from offshore investments, stating “we are building a stronger and more fair tax system, where those who choose to cheat are no longer able to hide and will face the consequences of their actions.”   Canadian taxing authorities are also actively investing more than 820 taxpayers and are investing 20 cases linked to offshore accounts where criminal tax evasion is suspected.

Taxpayers in Canada should be concerned about the possibility they will become the target of an investigation. Because the U.S. is also being aggressive in pursuing claims based on suspected tax evasion, individuals in the U.S. should be worried as well. Attorney Kevin Thorn can provide insight into your options for responding if you're concerned you could be accused of evading your tax obligations.


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