Canadian corporations hoarding record amounts in offshore tax havens
In 2014, Canadian corporations sent nearly $200 billion offshore, costing us nearly $8 billion in tax revenue.
Ottawa (12 May 2015) — Figures released by Canadians for Tax Fairness (CTF) (link is external) show that the amount of money Canadian corporations are keeping in tax havens has jumped to record levels.
Canadian corporations had $199 billion in tax havens in 2014 — the most recent year for which statistics are available. That’s up from $187 billion a year earlier.
Tax havens cost Canadians $7.8 billion
When corporations send money to tax havens, their main goal is avoiding Canadian taxes. According to Dennis Howlett, the Executive Director of CTF, “While a small portion of the money in tax havens may be legitimate investments, such as in resorts or operating businesses, most of it is there to avoid paying taxes back home in Canada.”
It’s estimated that corporations are able to avoid paying a total of $7.8 billion in Canadian taxes because they use tax havens. That’s something to think about when politicians claim they can’t afford to improve health care or repair aging roads, sewers or bridges.
“That is our money”
“That is our money, and the truth is that we have plenty of tools at our disposal to claim it,” says NUPGE National President James Clancy. “Unfortunately the federal government is unwilling to act.”
Restoring the over $500 million cut from to the Canada Revenue Agency is an important first step. With those resources the Canada Revenue Agency could crack down on aggressive tax evasion by those wealthy enough to use tax havens.
The federal government knows this—in the 2015 budget it was estimated that for every $1 spent on enforcement, Canada would get $10 back – but it is reluctant to act. Only a fraction of the cuts to the Canada Revenue Agency have been reversed.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada’s largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good.