Tax evasion convictions in Canada have dropped by more than half since 2009. The figures show that in 2010, 216 were found guilty. Three years later, in 2013, that number dropped to 98.
Do these numbers mean that there are fewer tax cheats? Or could it mean that widespread cuts to both the CRA and the Department of Justice have hobbled efforts to crack down on Canadians who try to play the system?
Taxpayers feel the system is stacked against them when politicians use tax fairness as a slogan and not a principle. It has happened again and again in federal budgets. Will Budget 2015 be any different? Here are four actions that would speak louder than words.
Former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page knows his way around a balance sheet. So when he was asked for his assessment of the Conservative plans to double the TFSA limit he expressed a lot of concern. "Will it generate the savings for the middle class, the lower class? You would have to be quite wealthy to have $11,000 in savings after all the debt you'd have to take care of through the course of the year," he told CBC's Evan Solomon, adding that the government's focus should be on infrastructure investment. "I think the bigger issue is we need to grow the economy," he said.
It is no surprise that taxpayers feel the system is stacked against them. Over the years, leaders of all political stripes have used tax fairness as a slogan and not a principle. Will Budget 2015 be any different? Not likely. That's a shame. Because while hard-working Canadians are the engine that drives the country, smart tax policy is the fuel that keeps it going.
May Hen is currently a research associate at the Centre for Policy Research at Simon Fraser University. But in her previous work life she was one of Canada's 11,512 tax collectors at the Canada Revenue Agency. As tax our tax filing deadline and the Federal Budget approach it got her to thinking about how our tax system should be serving Canadians.
The World Social Forum kicks off in Tunis today. Activists will be debating and strategizing how to change a global economic system that benefits a few thousand people who own more wealth than the rest of the world combined. Here is a guest blog from the Director of Oxfam, International Winnie Byanyima.