Stonewalls, Tax Gaps and Missing Data

Today was another example of how Canada’s Finance and Revenue Ministers are stonewalling about how much money is lost to overseas tax avoidance.

For the past few months the Parliamentary Budget Office has been asking the CRA for information that could help Canada determine how much is being lost – a term known as the “tax gap”.  The PBO undertook that work after a request from Senator Percy Downe. 

“Unfortunately the CRA has informed me that they are unable to share the relevant data with our office,” says a letter from PBO Kevin Page.   The CRA has repeatedly told Canadians that there is no “recognized or credible” methodology to create such an estimate – most recently at the House of Common Finance Committee hearings into tax havens.

But in that letter, the PBO proposes a detailed methodology that could use Canadian data to generate such an estimate.

“We strongly suggest that the Finance Committee get Kevin Page before the committee to share his notes on this,” says C4TF’s Dennis Howlett.  

“Half the governments in the OECD have developed a process to estimate the tax gap,”says Howlett.   “Canadian taxpayers deserve to have their tax dollars protected.”