When companies or wealthy individuals dodge taxes, governments either have to cut back on essential services, such as health care and education, or make up the shortfall by levying higher taxes on everyone else. Both options see the poorest people lose out and the inequality gap grow.
As the deadline looms for honest tax-paying Canadians to file their income tax, word comes this week that the wealthiest among us are going to extreme lengths to avoid paying their fair share. The Panama Papers, at 2.6 terabytes of data believed to be the largest-ever leak of documents, reveal the secret dealings of the world's rich and famous who avoid paying taxes. The scheme is to funnel cash through shell companies offering tax havens around the world. And Panama is just one of many examples.
In the wake of the Panama Papers investigation, federal anti-money laundering agency Fintrac slapped an unnamed Canadian bank with a $1.1-million penalty for failing to report a suspicious transaction and various money transfers. Fintrac hopes the move sends a "strong message" to individuals attempting to short the country's coffers. How's that, exactly?
A cache of 11.5 million records links world leaders, banks to offshore accounts.