The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has assessed nearly $60 million in additional taxes owing under its Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP), the agency said in a written response to Thursday’s virtual session of the STEP Canada 2020 Speakers’ Series.
Under OTIP, a whistleblower program launched in 2014, the CRA provides financial rewards to individuals who come forward with information related to major international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance that lead to the collection of taxes owing.
As of Dec. 31, 2019, the OTIP received nearly 5,500 calls, of which more than 1,600 were potential informants, and over 750 written submissions, a CRA official reported. The CRA entered into 50 contracts with informants.
As a result of information received under the program, over 150 audits have been completed with approximately $20 million in tax collected, the official said. Over 300 audits are in progress.
To be eligible for the reward program, an individual must provide “sufficient, specific and credible details” that lead to additional taxes being assessed and collected. The information must be related to international tax evasion where the federal tax being evaded or avoided is greater than $100,000.
The reward amounts under OTIP range between 5% and 15% of the additional federal tax collected, excluding interest and penalties. The CRA determines the final reward percentage based on the quality and relevance of the information provided, its value to the CRA and the level of cooperation of the informant.
Certain individuals, including CRA employees and taxpayers who are reporting on their own non-compliance, are ineligible under the reward program.