"The Canada Revenue Agency offered amnesty to multi-millionaire clients caught using what's been called an offshore tax 'sham' on the Isle of Man," reported CBC.ca on March 8, 2016.
Leaked documents from the CRA also revealed that the wealthy tax evaders were offered a deal in which they would be free from any future civil or criminal prosecution and would not have to pay any fines or penalties.
Some were shocked by these revelations, since they assumed that the CRA was consistent in its treatment of tax offenders. However, the following leaked letters from the usual unreliable sources suggest that may not be the case:
Leaked document #1:
Dear average taxpayer:
We have completed an examination of your tax filings for the last three years and we wish to inform you that you have been reassessed and now owe us $2,192.63. You erroneously claimed undocumented charitable contributions totaling $756.45 on line 349 for the years 2012-2014 and unsupported medical claims of $1,090.16 on line 332 for the same period.
Furthermore, you failed to claim capital gains on some of your meager investments and we have assessed you an additional $759.23 for tax owing. If you require a more detailed explanation for these charges, why don't you hire an accountant? You can continue to try doing your taxes on your own but don't blame us when we nail you for even more owing.
Included within these charges are penalties and accumulated interest for the three-year period under investigation. Plus, if you don't cough up what you owe within 30 days, we're going to start charging you interest at what some might call a usurious rate.
Our suggestion to you is to pay as soon as you can or we can't promise what action will be taken next. While it's true we can't put you in prison, we can make your life a living hell for as long as necessary.
Your government in action,
Leaked document #2:
Dear valued wealthy client:
First, we'd like to apologize for corresponding with you directly. We know that you prefer that we communicate with you through your accountants or your esteemed team of corporate tax lawyers. However, in this case, we were obliged to contact you directly.
We almost hate to bring it up seeing as how the matter is so trivial but the law is the law, as they say (or at least as most Canadians say). It's just that one of our overzealous auditors happened to notice that you didn't declare income from money you've been holding in the Isle of Man for a number of years.
We assume that this was an oversight and probably was due to questionable advice you may have obtained elsewhere. God knows, it's hard to keep track of income when it's in the eight or nine-figure range, or at least that's what we've been told by those in the know. So we can see how a few million here or a few million there might easily be overlooked.
Sadly, however, it looks like there's some tax owing on the Isle of Man funds. Given that we were inexcusably tardy in bringing this matter to your attention, please take as long as you want to pay. And as for penalties and interest, just forget about it -- it's on us.
Let's face it: neither of us wants a long, drawn-out court battle over this -- and anyway, only one of us can afford that. So pay what you can when you can and we'll call it even.
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Click through the slides to see some of the famous tax cheats...
After being pursued by the FBI for years, legendary mob kingpin Al Capone was finally jailed for failing to pay taxes for four years. In 1931, he was sentenced to 11 years and an $80,000 fine. Capone famously joked that he couldn't be prosecuted because "the government can't collect legal taxes on illegal money."
Richard Hatch, the first "Survivor" winner failed to pay taxes on his $1 million grand prize. He was convicted in 2006 of tax evasion and was sentenced to 51 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release after serving his sentence.
Leona Helmsley, the late "Queen of Mean," was found guilty of tax fraud in 1992 and spent four years in prison after claiming $2.6 million in phony business expenses. During her trial, a witness testified that Helmsley once said: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes."
Currently serving a 25-year sentence, former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski was indicted for failing to pay New York sales taxes on $13 million worth of paintings for his Manhattan apartment.
In 1974, Richard Pryor served 10 days in a Los Angeles county jail for failing to pay taxes, telling the judge at his trial: "You know, I forgot."
Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison in 2007 following his conviction on three misdemeanor tax charges. Snipes was accused of failing to file tax returns from 1999 through 2004. Snipes allegedly tried getting fraudulent tax refunds using the "861 argument," a theory that domestic income is not taxable (which is commonly used by tax protesters).
Film legend Sophia Loren served an 18-day sentence for tax evasion in an Italian prison in 1982.
Willie Nelson owed $16.7 million in back taxes, leading the IRS in 1990 to confiscate and auction off his assets.
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