Topics: News, What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law, Ethics and Canadian Charities, Avoiding 'Charity' Scams
The CRA is cracking down on tax preparers and others who issue false charitable donation receipts.
Canada Revenue Agency News Release http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/cnvctns/on/on100716-eng.html
Brampton tax preparer guilty of tax fraud scheme
Brampton, Ontario, July 15, 2010…On June 29, 2010, Leslie George Walker, of Brampton, pled guilty in Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton to one count of fraud over $5,000. A date for sentencing has yet to be set.
Walker owned and operated a tax preparation business in his home under the name Walker’s Income Taxes. A Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) investigation, that included a search of Walker’s residence and place of business, revealed that he prepared 198 false tax returns on behalf of his clients for tax years 2004, 2005 and 2006. Walker made false charitable donation claims in these tax returns, and provided his clients with false charitable donation receipts. The false claims totalled $880,760 for the years noted, and resulted in Walker’s clients understating their federal taxes payable by $252,248, and receiving increased income tax refunds to which they were not entitled. Walker received a percentage of the face value of the false donation receipts from his clients as a fee for his services.
Four of the charities whose names appeared on the falsified donation slips have since had their charity status revoked by the CRA. These charities were: CanAfrica International Foundation; Jesus is the Answer, Care and Prayer; PanAfrican Canadian Multicultural Centre; and, Canadian Foundation for Child Development.
All 198 tax returns of Walker’s clients have since been re-assessed by the CRA. As a result, the income tax refund amounts paid to Walker’s clients, to which they were not entitled, must be repaid with penalties and interest.
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 will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a full disclosure before the Agency starts any action or investigation against them. These individuals may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest. More information on the Voluntary Disclosures Program can be found on the CRA’s website at http://www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.
The CRA reminds Canadians to not be fooled by tax preparers offering larger refunds than other preparers. While most preparers provide excellent service to tax filers, a few unscrupulous return preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns and ultimately defraud their clients. Remember that even if someone else prepares your tax return, you’re the one responsible for all the information on the return. If a tax preparer is offering you fraudulent tax preparation services, or if you want to report a tax cheater, you can do so anonymously by calling the CRA at 1-866-809-6841 (toll free).
The information in this news release was obtained from the court records.
Further information on convictions can also be found in the Media room on the CRA website at http://www.cra.gc.ca/convictions.
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.