February 27, 2014
Tax havens must be taken seriously
New Democrat MP Pierre Dionne Labelle (Rivière-du-Nord) has tabled a motion in the House of Commons demanding accountability from Conservatives for their continued failure to bring an end to the billions of dollars lost through tax evasion.
“Conservatives have repeatedly demonstrated their gross underestimation of the scope of this multi-billion dollar problem,” said Dionne Labelle. “It is time confront tax evasion head-on and take action to ensure the integrity of our tax system.”
Independent estimates suggest that Canada could be losing between $5.3 billion to $7.8 billion annually in tax revenue as a consequence of the illegal use of tax havens. Despite repeated demands from the NDP, Conservatives have refused to even measure the cost of tax cheats to Canada.
“Instead of focusing on exposing tax havens and catching tax cheats, the Conservatives have slashed the Canada Revenue Agency's investigative resources and staff,” said NDP National Revenue critic Murray Rankin (Victoria). “Hard-working Canadians who play by the rules deserve a government that stands up to tax evaders.”
The NDP motion calls on the government to measure revenue losses to offshore tax havens and to establish rigorous assessment of revenue recovery in the areas tax evasion and tax avoidance.
The motion reads as follows:
“That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: a) study and measure Canadian tax losses to international tax havens and tax evasion, in order to determine the Canadian federal “tax gap”; b) order the Canada Revenue Agency to provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with the information necessary to provide an independent estimate of the Canadian federal tax gap arising from tax evasion and tax avoidance through the use of tax havens; c) mandate the Auditor General or the PBO to provide estimates of the marginal revenue of additional CRA resources (i.e. auditors) in the areas of tax evasion and tax avoidance; d) mandate the Auditor General to evaluate, on a regular basis, the success of the Canada Revenue Agency in prosecuting and settling cases of tax evasion.”