Professionalism and your tax professional

Everyone wants to minimize the taxes they pay, but at what cost? If you’re dealing with a “professional” who lacks professionalism, you’re taking your chances. There is no amount of savings that is worth dealing with a company that doesn’t insist on doing things the right way.

Toronto tax preparer guilty of over million dollar tax fraud scheme

Toronto, Ontario, March 21, 2012…The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced today that Christopher Paterson of Toronto pleaded guilty on March 19, 2012, in the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto, to one count of fraud over $5,000. Paterson received an 18 month conditional sentence and 200 hours of community service. In addition, Paterson cannot prepare or file any tax returns or tax appeals on behalf of any person other than himself. Paterson must maintain employment and comply with other statutory conditions.

A CRA investigation revealed that Paterson prepared 144 false income tax returns for the 2004 to 2008 tax years on behalf of himself and 87 clients. He claimed a total of $1,094,559 in false charitable donation deductions on these fraudulent returns, reducing the amount of federal taxes owed. As a result, refunds totalling $313,992 were issued to Paterson’s clients to which they were not entitled. In addition, Paterson also attempted to claim another $154,148 in false charitable donations claims on 16 of his clients’ income tax returns, resulting in those clients attempting to understate federal taxes by $44,255.

Paterson operated a tax preparation business called TaxTips1. Paterson sold false charitable donations receipts of various amounts to his clients for a fee. He then used these charitable donation receipts to prepare his clients income tax returns, and submitted the false receipts along with the returns to the CRA.

The information in this news release was obtained from the court records.

Taxpayers who claim false expenses, credits or rebates from the government are subject to serious consequences. They are liable not only for corrections to their tax returns and payment of the full amount of tax owing, but also to penalties and interest. In addition, if convicted of tax evasion, the court may fine them up to 200% of the tax evaded and sentence them for up to a five-year jail term.

Individuals 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 initiated by the CRA against them. These individuals may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest. More information on the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) can be found on the CRA’s website at www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.

Time limits for claiming ITC

Most registrants claim their input tax credits (ITCs) when they file their GST/HST return for the reporting period in which they made their purchases. However, you may have ITCs that you did not claim when you filed the return for the corresponding reporting period.

If so, you can claim those ITCs on a future GST/HST return as long as it is filed by the due date of the return for the last reporting period that ends within four years after the end of the reporting period in which the ITC could have first been claimed.

Example
You are a quarterly filer and you buy office furniture in the reporting period October 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011, for which you can claim an ITC. The due date of the return for this reporting period is January 31, 2012.

The last reporting period in which you can claim an ITC for the tax you were charged on the office furniture is the reporting period October 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. The due date for this return is January 31, 2016. This means that you can claim the ITC in any return due and filed by January 31, 2016.

To support your claim for ITCs, the invoices or receipts you use must contain specific information. See the chart in Sales invoices for GST/HST registrants, for more information.

The time limit for claiming ITCs is reduced to two years for:

  • listed financial institutions (other than a corporation that is deemed to be a financial institution because it has made an election to have certain supplies deemed to be financial services and that election is in effect); and
  • persons with annual taxable supplies of goods and services of more than $6 million for each of the two preceding fiscal years.

However, the two-year limit does not apply to the following persons even if they fall into the second category listed above (these persons have four years to claim their ITCs):

  • charities; and
  • persons whose supplies of goods and services (other than financial services) during either of the two preceding fiscal years are at least 90% taxable supplies.

Under the two-year limit, you can claim your ITCs on any future return that is filed by the due date of the return for the last reporting period that ends within two years after the end of your fiscal year that includes the reporting period in which the ITC could have first been claimed.

Example
You are a monthly filer with a fiscal year end of December 31. You buy goods in the reporting period September 1 to 30, 2011, for which you can claim an ITC. The fiscal year that includes the September 2011 return ends on December 31, 2011. You can claim the ITC on any later return for a reporting period that ends by December 31, 2013 and is filed by January 31, 2014.

Bolton man fined for failing to file tax returns

Brampton, Ontario, August 21, 2012 … The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced today that on August 17, 2012, Jim Payne, of Bolton, was fined a total of $12,000 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton. Ontario. He pleaded guilty to five counts of failing to file personal income tax returns and seven counts of failing to file corporate income tax returns. He was given four months to pay the fine. All outstanding returns have been filed.

Mr. Payne failed to file his 2006 to 2010 personal income tax returns. In addition he failed to file the 2006 to 2008 corporate income tax returns for Pashin Holdings Inc., a real estate development company as well as the 2007 to 2010 corporate income tax returns for V2R Group Inc. which performs general contract consulting.

The preceding information was obtained from the court records.

In addition to the fines imposed by the courts, individuals or corporations convicted of failing to file tax returns are still obligated to file the tax returns and pay the full amount of taxes owing, plus interest, as well as any civil penalties that may be assessed by the CRA.

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 initiated by the CRA against them. These taxpayers may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest. More information on the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) can be found on the CRA’s website at www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.