There is a powerful Bahamian connection in the mess that is Canada's offshore tax haven epidemic. Now a new leak to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and media reports are blowing its cover.
The Parliamentary Finance Committee will soon start hearings to find out how we should be spending our tax money and this summer they accepted briefs from interested organizations.
"There are three ways the government could raise additional revenue," says Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness. "These options, if fully implemented, could raise an additional $20 billion annually."
The mega-law Canadian law firm that provided advice to KPMG clients about using tax schemes to hide assets during divorces has hired former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Dentons says Harper,who has no law training, will provide clients with advice on maximizing value in global markets. Under Harper, wealthy Canadians shipped record-breaking amounts to tax havens.
The European Union has kickstarted a pushback against the multinationals that are using every trick in the book to avoid paying tax.
After an intensive three-year investigation,the EU commission ruled that Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple were illegal and provided up to a 13-billion-Euro subsidy ($14.5 billion) plus interest. And that ruling should be instructive to other governments.
How much corporate tax has Apple paid to Canada? Your guess is as good as ours. But estimates that the US government could be owed up to $60 billion send a clear message that Canada has likely dropped the ball on this issue.
Canadians for Tax Fairness wants provincial premiers to clamp down on the growing use of anonymous companies as part of tax scams. The first step? A public registry of the beneficial owners of companies. That would be an important step towards global efforts to fight tax evasion and money laundering.