Minister Lebouthillier announces consultations on changes to the Voluntary Disclosures Program to ensure a fairer tax system for all Canadians

OTTAWA, June 9, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians work hard, pay their share of taxes and expect a tax system that is responsive and fair. Unfortunately, some wealthy Canadians continue to find ways to not pay what they owe, which places an unfair burden on Canadians. This situation has to change. That is why the Government of Canada is cracking down on tax cheats.

The Government of Canada and the CRA have taken action by focusing resources in the areas of highest risk, both domestically and internationally. Today, 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 is better positioned to crack down on tax cheats and ensure that those who break the law face the consequences of their actions. It is what Canadians expect.

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 input from the public will help the Government ensure that Canadians have confidence in their tax system. The CRA will announce changes to the program in the fall of 2017.


"Our government has made cracking down on tax cheats a priority, because when everyone pays their fair share, we all continue to benefit from the social programs that improve our quality of life."

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has invested nearly $1 billion in the 2016 and 2017 budgets to crack down on tax cheats. This investment is expected to have a federal revenue impact of over $5 billion over the next five years.
  • The Voluntary Disclosures Program gives taxpayers an opportunity to voluntarily come forward and correct previous omissions in their dealings with the CRA.
  • The Voluntary Disclosures Program applies to disclosures relating to income tax, excise tax, excise duties under the Excise Act, 2001, source deductions, GST/HST and charges under the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and the Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006.
  • The 60-day consultation on the Voluntary Disclosures Program will give Canadians an opportunity to have their say on how to improve the tax system to make it more fair and equitable.
  • This input will inform the Government's next steps; the CRA expects to present its new Voluntary Disclosures Program guidelines in the fall of 2017. 

Associated Links

Consulting with Canadians on the Voluntary Disclosures Program 
Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee Report
Standing Committee on Finance Statement
Government of Canada cracks down on tax evasion

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SOURCE Canada Revenue Agency

For further information: Chloé Luciani-Girouard, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Revenue, 613-995-2960; Media Relations, Canada Revenue Agency, 613-952-9184


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