Today’s revelations that more senior tax auditors have received notices from the Canada Revenue Agency shows that the federal government has no intention of cracking down on Canadian multinationals who are shifting profits offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Senior auditors with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) are among the 220 staff who have received the news that their positions are “affected” by the government’s continuing cuts to programs and services. Over the past several years, CRA has experienced more cuts than any other federal department.
“The Minister of Finance is heading to the G20 to discuss how other countries are planning to tackle tax havens under new OECD proposals – meanwhile back home he has overseen the gutting of the tax investigative teams that have the experience to follow the paper trails,” says Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness.
He says CRA arguments that these teams are simply being “re-aligned” are improbable and transparent.
“The CRA has been shifting its weight to go after waitresses, plumbers and self-employed taxpayers who can’t afford big-time tax lawyers,” he says. They have been cowed by the big guys. In the meantime billions of untaxed Canadian dollars are being funnelled offshore by rich individuals and multinationals.”
Canadian money in top offshore tax havens reached an all-time high of $185 Billion in 2013. Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had acknowledged the devastating impact that aggressive tax practices had on tax revenues and introduced measures in two federal budgets to combat the practice which has become a global epidemic. The current Minister of Finance has reversed that momentum and has spiked plans to crack down on Canadian multinationals that engage in the “tax treaty shopping” that the federal government had described as rampant only last year.