The pandemic didn’t slow tax evasion in B.C., just the auditors assessing it

Over the last fiscal year, March 2020 to March 2021, the Canada Revenue Agency has issued 976 tax reassessments in B.C., resulting in $174 million in reclaimed taxes.

This data may seem like a lot of audits, but it’s actually down from the 2,044 audits that the CRA issued in the 2019-2020 season. During that time, the agency reclaimed $306.5 million.

That said, during the current tax season, it appears that the CRA went after some slightly bigger fish. For example, on average, each reassessment was able to reclaim roughly $178,000 in 20-21 season. The year prior, the agency was averaging $149,000 per assessment.

Across the county, the CRA was able to carry out 5,424 audits this year which is less than half of the 10,763 it carried out the year before.

If you count Ontario as well, the CRA was able to bring in $300 million and of that, $54 million was from people who knowingly made false statements when filing their taxes. This number is down from the previous tax season, but it still shows that the pandemic didn’t do much to slow tax evasion.

To find people committing tax evasion, the CRA looks closely at their real estate records. For instance, the agency states, “The acquisition of expensive assets, such as a high-end home, without an obvious income source, can be an indicator of potential unreported income on income tax returns.”

The Agency told BIV that there isn’t any data on how much of the $1.85 billion has been collected since 2015 in both provinces. However, the Parliamentary Budget Office recovery estimates it will get back 81.3%, following objections and appeals.

Source: BIV

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