No one deserves this kind of tax-break

When you cheat on your taxes or make a mistake, you can expect to pay the price, but that’s not always the way it works, especially if you’re among the most wealthy in the country. Canadians are learning about this double standard in the wake of the recent KPMG scandal which sends the wrong message in these tough economic times. That’s because according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) some of us are too big to prosecute for tax evasion.

As a bit of background, KPMG is a financial organization that over the last decade has been helping some of their more wealthy clients evade taxes by advising them to invest in a tax shelter located on the Isle of Man. At least 26 Canadians have taken advantage of this scheme and now they are being offered a secret amnesty deal by the CRA.

This sweetheart deal means they only have to pay back-taxes along with a miniscule interest rate. Signing also meant they would never be prosecuted or face any fines in the future for their indiscretion. It’s not fair to everyday tax-payers and it also goes against the operating guidelines that CRA applies to the rest of us.

Why is the CRA doing this? It all comes down to money. They claim that granting amnesty is costing the government less money than it would for them to actually prosecute, but that doesn’t make it OK. These people should face the charges like anyone else – otherwise it sends the wrong message.

The previous government allowed uncollected tax debt to rise by 60% while they were in office and they also cut the budget for CRA tax collectors that look for offshore tax cheats. By allowing billions of dollars to go uncollected, the government is only punishing people who play by the rules.

Canadians deserve a proactive government that will stop protecting those who hide their money offshore. Failing to do so shortchanges government revenue by as much as 8 billion dollars every year. Because of this, Canada is faced with a number of repercussions and economic challenges. Taxes pay for health care, education, safety, social security, and so much more. They improve our country and allow us to operate as a society. A shortfall of funds now only creates more problems and guarantees more expensive solutions in the future.

The government needs to understand that it’s time to do something more than just playing with tax rates that only benefit the upper middle class. Tax evasion is an issue we have raised in parliament on numerous occasions and will continue to call on the Liberal government  to stop allowing the wealthiest among us get away with it.