Recently, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched an online consultation to give Canadians a say about the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) proposed changes to tighten its Voluntary Disclosures Program.

With the nearly $1 billion investment announced in the 2016 and 2017 budgets, the CRA feels it is in a better position to crack down on tax cheats and ensure that those who break the law face the consequences of their actions.

The proposed changes to the Voluntary Disclosures Program follow an extensive review of the program that was completed over the past months in response to the recommendation by the Standing Committee on Finance. The CRA also benefited from the advice and recommendations put forward by the Minister’s Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee.

The proposed changes to the Voluntary Disclosures Program include:

– narrowing the criteria of who is eligible;

– ensuring that severe cases of non-compliance do not benefit from the same level of penalty and interest relief;

– ensuring that requests that disclose proceeds of crime are excluded from relief; and

– requiring payment of the estimated taxes owing as a condition to qualify for the program.

The CRA’s online consultations on the Voluntary Disclosures Program will be open for 60 days. The CRA will announce changes to the program in the fall of 2017.

If you feel you may benefit from access to the voluntary disclosure program, it is best to act quickly and avoid missing out on some of the benefits that are currently available. Contact us for a confidential review of your situation.