Tax cheats beware: Tories launch snitch hotline and offer monetary rewards

VANCOUVER – The lines are now open to snitch on tax cheats.

The federal Conservatives launched the hotline Wednesday, saying they’ll also reward informants who provide information that leads to a big bust.

Informants who provide information on major international tax evasion of more than $100,000 could get between five to 15 per cent of the money that’s recovered, excluding interest and penalties, said Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

“This will be a critical tool for recovering taxes that would otherwise be lost to tax cheats,” she said.

Informants won’t get anything if they’ve been convicted for being part of the tax-dodge scheme, she added.

The Tories plan to spend $30 million over five years to improve efforts to fight tax evasion both in Canada and abroad, Findlay said.

The Conservatives are eager to collect all the taxes they’re owed as they grapple with balancing the books. Cracking down on tax dodgers was one of the marquee items in the last federal budget, aimed at bringing in hundreds of millions of lost tax dollars.

Everyone needs to play by the rules, Findlay said.

“This is the basis of our Canadian economy and of the programs that we enjoy, the quality of life we enjoy,” she said.

“Most Canadian pay their fair share, want to pay their fair share, want to be in compliance. Those who deliberately are not, we intend to go after aggressively.”

Investments outside the country aren’t illegal, but Canadians must report their worldwide income to the Canada Revenue Agency and pay their taxes, she said.

Canadians are required by law to report any offshore holdings worth more than $100,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency.

The Tories plan to toughen up those rules so that any international electronic funds transfers over $10,000 would have to be disclosed.

Findlay said she’s confident that the agency can handle the volume of calls, but it’s too early to tell how much money could be recovered through the snitch hotline.