NEW WESTMINSTER – Today, the finance committee begins a study into offshore tax havens initiated by NDP MP Peter Julian. The study will examine how the current tax laws continue to allow companies to legally hide taxable income in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes in Canada.
“Canadians across the country have had such a difficult year financially. People lost their jobs or lost wages when their hours were cut back during the pandemic. Yet, those people are still expected to pay their taxes,” said Julian. “But the rules are different for multinational corporations and the ultra-rich. The government continues to stand by while taxable revenue is legally stashed in offshore tax havens and corporations continue to avoid paying their fair share. It’s a double standard and it does a huge disservice to everyday Canadians.”
Yesterday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) confirmed the annual deficits in the coming years are likely to be billions of dollars higher than those projected by the Liberal government. Julian says, given the country’s difficult financial position, the government should be more interested in recovering tax revenue to provide Canadians with the services they need.
“The tax laws we have are not holding corporations and the ultra-rich accountable. What will it take for the federal government to stop sweeping the problem of tax cheats under the rug and have the courage to address the real issue?” asked Julian. “We’re trying to recover from a pandemic and the government is knowingly letting corporations off the hook. Canadians need strong public services now more than ever and, sadly, they will remain underfunded until this government takes action.”
Both Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to make necessary changes to Canada’s tax laws or recover money from offshore tax havens. Canadians are still waiting for criminal convictions and recovered funds for various tax scandals including the Paradise Paper, the Panama Papers and the Bahamas Leaks. So far, no Canadian has been convicted in any of these cases.
In 2018, the Auditor General found that the Canada Revenue Agency was tougher on individuals and small businesses in Canada than on the offshore and large corporation cases.
“It’s unfair that hardworking people are expected to pay their taxes each year while the ultra-rich and powerful are allowed to avoid paying their fair share,” said Julian. “New Democrats will continue to push the government for complete tax law reform, not patchwork reforms that leave our system full of tax loopholes for the wealthiest.”
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