This year, the Canadian Revenue Agency is cracking down on tax evaders.
Starting April 1, the CRA will be counting the number of people fingerprinted for committing tax offences.
CRA spokesman Patrick Samson says in an email to CKNW that they expect the number of fingerprints to be consistent with the number of charges laid.
Finance Lawyer Christine Duhaime says she’s not surprised by the move because tax fraud is an indictable offence, which does have repercussions, including the potential for travel restriction.
“You’re in a database as a person who has been charged with a criminal offence, and yes that information is shared with the United States and many other countries. So the United States is one of the countries that does turn away Canadians… ’cause it’s up to Americans if they want to let someone in, it’s discretionary, so they may feel like a tax evasion charge, even though it never… went forward, is serious enough to not… admit somebody into the country.”
The CRA says the fingerprints will be recorded in the Canadian Police Information Centre database.
“Part of what the CRA audit is not really to go after rich people, you know, spending their money, or may or may not of, put it in offshore bank accounts, although that is one big part of it, most of the money that is tax evaded is actually from regular Canadians that have jobs, or they’re self-employed for example, and don’t pay their tax and don’t report,” Duhaime says.
The CRA says that if someone has been acquitted on all counts, the agency will ask that the fingerprints be removed from the database.
What it would take for the CRA to collect your fingerprints?
Global News reports that a notice from the CRA saying it believes you cheated on your tax return doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be fingerprinted. The agency would have to decide to prosecute you for tax evasion.
Fingerprinting would occur for “tax evasion offences which may be prosecuted by indictment,” the CRA told Global News.