The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue made the following statement regarding the recent media coverage regarding a list of Canadians with offshore assets.
"Anyone with information on tax cheats has an obligation to bring it forward. The release of this information is good news for the hardworking Canadians who pay their fair share. This is bad news for the tax evaders in this country.
"Our Government has long recognized that international tax evasion is a serious problem. For this reason, CRA officials will review any information they receive and aggressively pursue all suspected cases of tax evasion.
"Since 2006, our Government has introduced several measures to help address this problem and ensure tax fairness for all Canadians.
"Our Government is committed to cracking down on individuals who avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to combat International Tax Evasion and closing tax loopholes to ensure tax fairness for all Canadians. These new measures include:
Requiring certain financial intermediaries, including banks, to report to the CRA international electronic funds transfers of $10,000 or more.
Announcing that the CRA will introduce a new Stop International Tax Evasion Program through which it will make payments to individuals with knowledge of major international tax non-compliance that lead to collection of additional taxes. The payment will be a percentage of tax collected as a result of information provided.
Extending the normal reassessment period by three years for taxpayers who have failed to report income from a specified foreign property on their annual income tax return and failed to properly file the Foreign Income Verification Statement (Form T1135).
Revising the Foreign Income Verification Statement to require reporting of more detailed information.
Streamlining the process for the CRA to obtain information concerning unnamed persons from third parties such as banks.
"Over the last six years, the CRA has conducted approximately 8,000 compliance actions and reassessed in excess of $4.5 billion in federal taxes as the result of its efforts.
"We call on The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to hand over this list to allow our Government to crack down on tax evaders."