Eighteen-month jail sentence for a Montréal tax protester

MONTRÉAL, Nov. 24, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Montréal resident Timothée Bessette pleaded guilty on November 18, 2016, to a tax fraud charge before the Court of Quebec in Longueuil. On November 23, 2016, he was sentenced to eighteen months in jail.

A Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) investigation revealed that, for the 2003 to 2010 tax years, Timothée Bessette advised and helped 11 individuals to avoid or try to avoid paying more than $390,000 in income tax by claiming inadmissible expenses to reduce or cancel their taxable income. This scheme is based on an argument brought forth by the tax protester movement.

The activities for which Mr. Bessette has been charged occurred between July 2009 and October 2010. During that period, he acted as a facilitator for Christian Lachapelle, a tax protester scheme promoter. Mr. Lachapelle, for his part, pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges on October 22, 2015.

The scheme consisted of helping or advising individuals to file income tax returns or request a reassessment using the distinction between a "natural" person and a "legal" person. According to this false argument made by tax protesters, there are two distinct persons for tax purposes. Canadian courts have repeatedly and consistently rejected such arguments.

All case-specific information above was obtained from the court records.

The CRA warns all Canadians to beware of "tax protesters" that try to convince you that Canadians do not have to pay tax on the income they earn. Canadian courts have repeatedly and consistently rejected arguments made in these tax protester schemes. For those involved in tax protester schemes, the CRA will reassess income tax and interest, and charge penalties. More information on tax protester schemes is available at www.cra.gc.ca/alert.

If you have ever made a tax mistake or omission, the CRA is offering you a second chance to make things right through its Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP). If you make a valid disclosure before you become aware that the CRA is taking action against you, you may only have to pay the taxes owing plus interest. More information on the VDP can be found on the CRA's website at www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.

Additional information on convictions can be found on the Media page of the CRA website at www.cra.gc.ca/convictions.


SOURCE Agence du revenu du Canada

For further information: Frédérick Fink, CRA Media Relations, 514-283-2628

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