CRA snitch line’s switchboards are lighting up
Credit: Metro News
No rewards have been paid yet, but the agency has plenty of reports to investigate.
The Canadian Revenue Agency’s offshore tax tip-line program has yet to pay out any rewards, but the agency said it’s generating a lot of leads.
The Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP), which was launched in January 2014, offers rewards for information that leads to the agency collecting an additional $100,000 or more in federal tax.
It has yet to pay out a reward, but has received 407 submissions and has contracts with 27 informants.
“OTIP is proving successful as it is generating important new information about international tax evasion and avoidance which would not otherwise have been available to the CRA,” said agency spokesperson David Walters in an email. “This information is key in building additional offshore intelligence and compliance workload for the agency.”
He said the agency was generating good leads and was auditing 218 taxpayers because of the program. It has also reassessed more than a $1 million in penalties and taxes.
The CRA doesn’t pay a reward until a successful investigation closes and the agency receives payment. Walter said that can take some time.
“These international audits can be complex and take years to complete.”
The offshore program is not the agency’s only tip line to catch tax-avoiders; there’s also a domestic program, which generates a lot more calls.
In the 2016-17 fiscal year, that program generated 37,400 calls, up from 30,000 in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
That program doesn’t pay rewards — the agency doesn’t even track whether the tips help track down tax cheats.
“The CRA does not track the number of leads that are subject to audit or require further investigation,” said spokesperson Lise Newton.
She said some of the tips generate new investigations, while others just add to existing ones and the agency doesn’t differentiate between the two.