A tax amnesty or a Tax pardon is also referred to as a voluntary disclosure in Canada. This is a procedure which enables you to deal with income tax or General Sales Tax returns which have not been filed. It involves income which has not been reported. When you appeal for a tax amnesty, you may be able to avoid penalties, charges for income tax evasion and prosecution too.
It is always advisable to seek a professional tax representative to help you. A tax firm has experience with tackling voluntary disclosures and ?representatives can guide you through your personal or corporate tax situation.
Revenue Canada has a voluntary disclosure program which is generally known as tax amnesty or a VDP, which enables taxpayers to declare their income voluntarily and file their tax returns, which have not been filed earlier or have been filed inaccurately.
The tax amnesty program helps in the waiver of civil penalties and it may save you from criminal prosecution. The crucial thing to remember is taxpayers have to act as on voluntary basis, being fully cognizant of their legal responsibilities as per the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act by reporting their tax affairs before the CRA begins to take any action or investigates against them.
All taxpayers who take the shield of the tax amnesty program will have to pay their outstanding tax amounts as assessed by the CRA along with the interest charges on the unpaid amount with the penalties waived.
Canadian non-residents can also be accommodated for the tax amnesty program and if they are able to meet certain requirements, they can extend their date of submission under Section 216 returns. The program also enables anonymous disclosure under the provision of a No-Name Policy which has been created to protect the identity of the compliant taxpayers.
If the taxpayer decides to remain incognito and confidential, he or she will be allowed to proceed with the voluntary disclosure and cannot be prosecuted up to a period of ninety days. This period of ninety days starts from the effective date of disclosure. The effective date of disclosure is established by the date the written voluntary disclosure is submitted to the CRA, whereby a receipt is given on the VDP Taxpayer Agreement Form from the tax services office.
During this period, the taxpayer will be safe from any CRA interference or charges of prosecution. This anonymity is also applicable if the income which has not been reported has been earned from offshore sources or through ambiguous or criminal activity.
To summarize, tax amnesty is applicable when there has been a failure on a taxpayer?s part to report his or her income; or if the income has been reported inaccurately with some missing information. If apply successfully, the taxpayers can enjoy the benefits of penalties free or even reduced interests treatment on their taxes.