Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Revenue Agency

March 03, 2009 08:46 ET

Canada Revenue Agency: Toronto Businessman Fined Over $1 Million for Tax Evasion

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 3, 2009) - Jonathan James Hunter, of Toronto, was found guilty of two counts of income tax evasion in the Court of Appeal of Ontario on January 31, 2008. On February 27, 2009 he was fined $1,148,006. An appeal was put forward by the Crown after Mr. Hunter was found not guilty, in a decision from the trial judge, on December 6, 2006.

"Tax evasion takes money away from the services that benefit all Canadians," said William V. Baker, Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). "The CRA takes action against those who try to avoid paying what they owe."

A CRA investigation revealed that Hunter worked as a self employed business consultant who helped junior companies raise capital. He derived his income by selling shares of companies that he was involved with. The CRA relied upon the indirect method of determining Hunter's income, commonly known as a "net worth" analysis. Hunter operated 65 brokerage accounts under his name and the names of nominees to sell shares that he owned. The net worth analysis indicated that Hunter earned $2,376,979 in taxable income that he failed to report on his personal tax returns for the 1996 and 1997 tax years, thereby evading federal taxes of $1,148,006.

Individuals who have not filed returns for previous years, or who have not reported all of their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. They will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a full disclosure before the Agency starts any action or investigation against them. These individuals may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest. More information on the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) can be found on the CRA's website at www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures

The Agency seeks publicity on convictions to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the self-assessment system and to increase compliance with the law through the deterrent effect of media coverage.

When individuals or corporations are convicted of tax evasion, they have to pay the full amount of tax owing, plus interest, and any penalties the CRA assesses. In cases of gross negligence, the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act allow the CRA to assess a penalty of up to 50% of the unpaid tax or the improperly claimed benefit. In addition, the court may, on summary conviction, fine them 50% to 200% of the tax evaded, and sentence them to a jail term of up to two years.

The information in this news release was obtained from the court records.

Further information on convictions can also be found in the Media Room on the CRA website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/convictions/

Contact Information

  • Canada Revenue Agency
    Peter Delis
    416-512-4135