Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tax evaders beware, but no rogues please

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Call it Crime Stoppers for tax evaders, a new program encouraging Canadians to snitch on people they know are avoiding taxes in Canada by shifting money out of the country. The Stop International Tax Evasion Program will pay rewards to people who tell the Canada Revenue Agency about such people, if it leads to the collection of outstanding taxes.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who is counting on getting $4.4 billion from closing tax loopholes and going after international tax cheats during the next five years, said you won't get the money if you were part of the deal. "We will not pay anyone who was part of the deal," he said. "We're not looking for rogues to turn in other rogues."

The program could pay a reward of up to 15 per cent of the tax collected from the tip when the tax evasion includes foreign property or transactions conducted partially or entirely outside the country.

And of course, before you go spending those big bucks, prepare to hand over your share to the CRA yourself. The reward money is itself taxable.

How much will this net the federal government? Flaherty has no idea.

"We don't know how much evasion there is until we go after it," he said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2013 B4

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