Canada is at the heart of the Paradise Papers. Whether politicians, wealthy businessmen or companies, tax havens revolve around you without triggering the slightest suspicion.
Never a leak of information about tax havens had exposed so many Canadians. They are five times more numerous than the 625 names found in the Panama Papers in 2016.
Nearly 3,300 companies, foundations, trusts and local people are named in the documents of the law firm Appleby, obtained by the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its partners, which includes Radio-Canada.
NB Post Gazette has found hundreds of Canadian citizens and resource people – including lawyers and accountants – whose addresses are associated with a company in the country. Appleby’s documents often include their residential address, but also sometimes their nationality, date of birth, as well as some passports.
Who are the Canadians named in the Paradise Papers?
From a food giant to a hockey team, to a multimillionaire: Appleby documents highlight hundreds of well-known companies and personalities who make – or have done – business in tax havens.
The leak includes those who have opened a subsidiary, a trust or a bank account abroad, in jurisdictions where tax rates are low or almost non-existent, in order to reduce their tax burden or for reasons of ‘business.
How to overcome tax havens?
The tax expert and author, Brigitte Alepin, believes that it is possible to put an end to tax havens.
“I never imagined, 15 or 20 years ago, that the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) would be so proactive in addressing [the problems associated with] the growing popularity of tax evasion and tax avoidance, “she said in an interview Monday at the 24/60 show .
“As best we can, we must respect the initiative of the OECD. The BEPS initiative aims to counter abusive tax avoidance […] that legally allows international taxpayers to take advantage of loopholes in our tax systems. ”
A difficult mission
The OECD is trying to rally its members on the issues of tax avoidance and, last April, created a reporting mechanism between member countries.
“We’ve been regulating tax havens for ten years now,” says Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration, in an interview with France Inter.
“I have 140 countries members of a group, I have to get them to agree on these rules, adds Mr. Saint-Amans. It takes a little time, but it was done. With the political will since 2008, and in particular 2013, 2015, we changed the rules and everyone agreed. Now you have to apply. ”
Are there solutions?
The co-director of the graduate programs in taxation at the University of Sherbrooke (Longueuil campus), Marwah Rizky, was invited to respond to the remarks of the OECD representative on the RDI economy program .
She argues that tax havens have been in the news for more than 100 years and it is high time to act.
“Today, can we do serious business and then stop having a thousand-page voluminous reports that say why it’s impossible to act and have solutions in a few steps? She asks.
Mrs. Rizky offers some solutions.
“First, the tax law is a federal law. Some provisions can be changed immediately, “she suggests.
“Second is to make sure that when charges are laid, amnesties are stopped and people are sent to jail,” says Rizky. For example, tax professionals who sell fraudulent schemes. As in the United States, they can be sentenced to two or three years in prison to show them the seriousness of tax laws and then zero tolerance for tax evasion. ”
“Thirdly,” she continues, “I would like to … begin to stop signing tax treaties with tax havens for information exchange agreements, with republics that clearly do not have taxes. ”