What are the Potential Penalties for Tax Evasion in Canada?

It’s time to file our income taxes again and the Ontario criminal lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth want to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of filing your tax returns.  Most people don’t enjoy filling out their income tax returns and it can sometimes be easy to procrastinate.  Failing to file your income tax returns is serious and should be taken seriously.  If you don’t file your taxes, or if you conceal income or make false claims deductions, you may be charged with tax evasion.  Canada’s Income Tax Act outlines all of the offences and penalties associated with tax evasion.

The potential penalties for tax evasion include fines, imprisonment, or sometimes, both.  The amount of the fine is usually in proportion to the amount of taxes an individual was trying to evade.  Depending on the particular circumstances and the seriousness of tax evasion, the penalties can be quite severe.  Failing to file your income tax return is usually considered to be a lesser offence with fines ranging from $1000 – $25 000.  You may also face up to twelve months in prison for not filing your taxes.  Again, this varies on a case by case basis so it is best to speak with an experienced Ontario criminal lawyer if you are facing tax evasion charges.

Making a false statement on your income taxes is more serious.  Someone who makes a false or misleading statement or intentionally tries to avoid paying taxes will usually receive a fine in the amount of fifty to two hundred percent of the amount of tax that was supposed to be paid.  An individual may also receive up to two years in prison for making a false statement on their income tax return.

Tax evasion also includes claiming false credits or deductions that an individual is not really entitled to.  This also includes conspiring with another person to claim false deductions.  The penalty for this kind of tax evasion is similar to making a false statement since the individual receives a fine between fifty and two hundred percent of the amount of tax that would be assessed if the individual had not tried to make a false deduction.  A prison sentence of up to two years can also be added as a penalty.

As you can see, tax evasion is taken seriously in Canada so it is important to file your income tax returns properly.  There are a number of services that exist to help individuals file their taxes so feel free to take advantage of this help.  If you are facing tax evasion charges, you should hire legal counsel to represent you.  The Ottawa criminal lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can help your defence against tax evasion charges.