SHERBROOKE, QC, Dec. 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that Christian Lachapelle, 53, was convicted by the Court of Quebec in Sherbrooke yesterday for not filing - and repeatedly refusing to file - his individual income tax returns for the 1997 to 2003 tax years. Mr. Lachapelle was sentenced to 30 days in jail and was arrested after a warrant was issued against him by Judge Hélène Fabi.
This is the third time that Mr. Lachapelle is convicted for similar infractions. He was fined $7,000 in July 2005 and $14,000 in April 2011. Moreover, in February 2011, he was sentenced to 114 days in jail for not paying his initial fine.
In this case, Mr. Lachapelle used many arguments often used by tax protestors, such as the natural/legal person argument. Canadian courts have repeatedly and consistently rejected such arguments. More information on tax protester schemes is available at www.cra.gc.ca/alert.
The preceding information was obtained from the court records.
In addition to any fines imposed by the courts, individuals found guilty of not filing tax returns still have to file the returns and pay the full amount of taxes owing, plus interest owed, as well as any civil penalties that may be assessed by the CRA.
The CRA is always on the lookout for tax schemes, such as the tax protester movement. It will assess or reassess the income tax returns of the individuals involved in such schemes and, in some cases, will recommend prosecution for tax evasion.
Taxpayers who have not filed returns for previous years or who have not reported all of their income can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. They may not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a valid disclosure before they become aware of any compliance action being taken by the CRA against them. These taxpayers may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest. For more information on the CRA's Voluntary Disclosures Program, go to www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.
For more information on convictions, go to the Media page of the CRA Web site at www.cra.gc.ca/convictions.
SOURCE: CANADA REVENUE AGENCY
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