The Paradise Papers Show How the Rich Rob Canada of its Potential

$10-$15 Billion a year. That’s how much is robbed from Canada each year by people not paying their fair share of taxes.

The Huffington Post reports,

The “Paradise Papers” leak of offshore tax haven documents suggests Canada is losing much more money to offshore tax havens than previously estimated, says a watchdog group.

Canadians for Tax Fairness estimates that Canada’s government loses between $10 billion and $15 billion annually “due to corporate tax dodging using tax havens.” Prior to the Paradise Papers, it had estimated the losses at $5 billion to $8 billion annually.

The group’s director Dennis Howlett noted that the Paradise Papers show, on a per capita basis, Canadians are twice as likely to use offshore tax havens as Americans.

He suggested that may be due to the fact that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is “much more aggressive and much more effective” in pursuing tax evasion, though that “that may change because of Trump’s administration.”

Canadians for Tax Fairness is adding its voice to a growing chorus accusing Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) of “misleading” Canadians about the government’s fight against tax havens.

The Paradise Papers, a leak of some 13.4 million records mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, included the names of at least 3,300 Canadians who have reportedly stashed money abroad. Among them were three former Canadian prime ministers — Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin — as well as the Liberal party’s top fundraiser, Stephen Bronfman.

Though the use of offshore accounts is not itself illegal, they’re are often tied to illegal activities, including failure to report income.

So what would $15 Billion in extra revenue help us achieve as a country? Here’s  just three national programs that have been proposed over the past few years:

  1. National Child Care Program – $5 Billion /year
  2. National Pharmacare Program – $19 Billion /year
  3. National Transit Strategy – $13.5 Billion /year

More than just a story of the accounting practices of the wealthy, the Paradise Papers show how the rich rob Canada of its potential every single year.