POLITICS

Taxman may have a bead on offshore tax havens: Government says

05/09/2013 09:33 EDT | Updated 07/09/2013 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - The Canadian government says it may be getting access to 2.5 million files on offshore tax havens that were leaked to the media last month.

The U.S. announced Thursday it was teaming up with Australia and the U.K. in an effort to expose tax cheats from around the world.

The American Internal Revenue Service says it has acquired substantial data about assets hidden in Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands.

Revenue Minister Gail Shea says Britain has agreed to share information relevant to Canada and Canadian officials have made formal requests to their American and Australian counterparts.

The statement didn't make it clear whether the U.S. and Australia have agreed to share the information but the IRS has said it was willing to share its information with other countries.

The offshore tax information leaked to the media last month came via the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The CBC was one of the media outlets that received the information but refused to hand it over to the federal government.

It was not immediately clear why Canada wasn't included in the investigation being launched by the U.S. and the other two countries.

On Wednesday, the Canadian government announced it was creating a team of six to 10 bureaucrats that would be devoted to pinpointing tax evaders.

-- with files from the Associated Press