CRA: Victim Surcharges to Be Doubled
Are you aware of the possibility of paying victim surcharges?
On June 12, 2013 the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that a resident of Fort St. John British Columbia was fined $2,000 for failing to file personal tax returns for the years 2004 and 2008.
Interestingly, the Provincial Court also imposed a $300 victim surcharge. Whether evasive taxpayers have to pay victim surcharges or not depends on many factors and at this time still involves much judicial discretion.
With the passing of the Increasing Offenders' Accountability for Victims Act on April 30, 2013, victim surcharges will become mandatory when that legislation is brought into force. Also, as that legislation demands, the monetary amount of victim surcharges will be doubled.
Under the amendments to the Criminal Code, the victim surcharge will be 30 percent of any fine imposed or, if no fine is imposed during sentencing, $100 for a summary conviction and $200 for an indictable offence (an offence punishable by two or more years in prison).
Victim surcharges are imposed on offenders at the time of sentencing.
Even in taxation cases, judges are guided by Part 23 of the Criminal Code in determining an appropriate and just sentence for the offenders. Sections 718 through to 718.2 have particular relevance. They require the balancing of a number of sentencing objectives, including denunciation of the unlawful conduct, deterrence of the offender and other like-minded individuals, separation from society where necessary, rehabilitation, reparation, and promotion of a sense of responsibility.
It is thought that victim surcharges are consonant with some of these notions.
Although the legislation is passed, it has not been brought into force at this time. For more examples of victim surcharges being imposed on taxpayers, see the links below.
On October 30, 2012 there was a similar conviction for failing to file tax returns in BC. The taxpayer was fined $2,000 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of $300.
On June 27, 2012 a taxpayer in Summerland, BC was fined $3,000 and a $50 victim surcharge.