March is Fraud Prevention Month - Minister Findlay reminds Canadians to protect themselves against fraud
March 24, 2014 - Ottawa - Canada Revenue Agency
March is Fraud Prevention Month across Canada, and the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue, marked the occasion by reminding Canadians to protect themselves against fraud. And while the spotlight is on fraud this month, Minister Findlay emphasized the importance of being vigilant all year long.
Our Government is committed to combatting fraud and protecting Canadian taxpayers from becoming victims by providing clear information on how to recognize fraudulent tax schemes and by encouraging them to report scams. Being informed and taking action to protect yourself also helps to protect the integrity of Canada's tax system.
The CRA has strong security measures that help to protect taxpayers from fraudulent schemes. Canadians are reminded that the CRA will not send information about personal refunds or benefit payments by email, will not ask for personal information by email, and will not leave any personal information on an answering machine. All phone calls or emails of this nature should not be answered and should be reported to the RCMP's Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Minister Findlay encouraged Canadians to educate themselves about the most common types of fraud. In addition to a broad array of communications activities, the CRA informs taxpayers on the dangers of fraud and tax evasion schemes through outreach programs, partnerships with other government departments, and close collaboration with tax practitioners and other stakeholders.
Fraud Prevention Month offers an excellent opportunity to get informed about how to recognize and report fraudulent activities. No matter how tempting it might be to believe that you don't have to pay any taxes, chances are - it's a scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Quick facts
- Fraud comes in many different forms. In some types of fraud, unsuspecting taxpayers receive suspicious communications that appear to be from the CRA. These are phishing scams that could result in loss of funds and identity theft for the victim. In other types of fraud, taxpayers buy into illegal tax schemes in order to avoid taxation by misrepresenting employment income or other forms of revenue or by receiving, or attempting to receive, refunds to which they are not entitled by making false claims.
- During the 2014 tax season, there have been numerous reports of telephone and e-mail scams involving fraudsters pretending to be the CRA and asking for personal information. Find out how you can protect yourself.
- If you think you've been an unknowing victim of fraud or any type of tax or benefit scam, call us at 1-800-959-8281, and immediately notify your bank and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
- The consequences are serious for participants in tax fraud schemes and even greater for promoters. Anyone caught in a scheme to avoid paying the taxes they owe will have to pay the tax owing plus interest and will also face other penalties, court fines, and possibly jail time.
- Anyone who is aware of a tax evasion scheme should contact the CRA's Informant Leads Program with their information. The CRA does not divulge the identity of an informant.
- The CRA has also launched the Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP) that offers financial awards to individuals with information about major cases of international tax non-compliance resulting in more than $100,000 of additional federal tax being assessed and collected. Please visit the OTIP website for more information, including how to make a submission.
- Budget 2013 proposed new administrative monetary penalties and criminal offences under the Excise Tax Act (in respect of GST/HST) and the Income Tax Act to address tax fraud involving the misreporting of sales revenues through electronic suppression software, also known as "zappers" or phantomware. The proposed legislation received Royal Assent on December 12, 2013, and was enacted on January 1, 2014. Read more here.
- If you have participated in illegal tax schemes and want to correct your tax affairs, the CRA offers you a second chance to make things right through the Voluntary Disclosures Program.
- FRAUD: Recognize It. Report It. Stop It.
"Tax fraud carries serious consequences. Our Government is raising awareness of fraudulent schemes to protect Canadians from falling victim to unscrupulous promoters. The CRA also has security measures in place to protect taxpayer information from identity thieves. It is critical that Canadians not only recognize fraud but report it so it can be stopped."