April 11, 2016 / 4:41 PM / in 4 years

Canada tightens tax evasion probe, to look closer at Isle of Man

Canada's Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will look more closely at its citizens’ accounts held in the Isle of Man and other low-tax jurisdictions as it cracks down in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations, a top official said on Monday.

“Those who hide income and assets offshore or try to evade or avoid paying the tax they owe will be identified and will face consequences,” National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier told a news conference.

Since January 2015, Canadian authorities have collected data on all international funds transfers of more than C$10,000 ($7,750), allowing Ottawa to examine potential tax evasion more fully across an entire jurisdiction, she said.

Lebouthillier said the first to be examined would be the Isle of Man, which received C$860 million in electronic transfers in a 12-month period that officials did not specify. Starting this month, the Canada Revenue Agency will contact about 350 taxpayers and 400 businesses whose transactions involve the Isle of Man.

Canada will later start probing financial transfers involving three other low-tax jurisdictions, Lebouthillier added but would not say which ones.

Last week Ottawa said it was seeking a copy of the “Panama Papers” revelations about potential tax evasion.

Canada’s new Liberal government promised last month to invest nearly C$450 million over five years to gather more information about tax evasion and tax avoidance.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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