Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Revenue Agency

June 22, 2011 15:48 ET

CRA: Taxi Business Owner Picks Up Fines for Tax Offences

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 22, 2011) - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced today that Louis Sienna pleaded guilty on June 21, 2011, to one count of income tax evasion, one count of receiving refunds or credits unlawfully obtained, and one count of failure to remit GST. Sienna was sentenced by Justice Speyer of the Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton to fines totaling $84,547, representing 100% of the total taxes evaded or credits unlawfully obtained. He has 18 months to pay the fines.

The court heard that Sienna operated a sole proprietorship under the name Parko Transportation, a taxi service, since 1999. Sienna was also a co-owner of a number of taxi licenses and vehicles, and provided taxi services under contract to a Hamilton-based taxi company.

An investigation by the CRA revealed that, during the 2003 and 2004 tax years, Louis Sienna failed to maintain proper books and records needed to document Parko Transportation's income and expenses. Business records found by the CRA through the execution of search warrants at his home and business premises were inaccurate, inadequate and unreliable. In particular, Sienna did not properly maintain or record income generated by his taxi drivers. Due to the lack of evidence to support the revenue generated by Parko Transportation, the CRA was required to determine Sienna's true income through a net worth review of the increase or decrease in his assets and liabilities, along with a detailed analysis of personal and business spending, during 2003 and 2004.

The analysis determined that Sienna failed to declare a total of $212,284 in income in 2003 and 2004, thereby evading a total of $48,114 in federal income tax. He also failed to remit $14,860 in GST collected in relation to this income. As a result of his failure to report all of his income for 2003 and 2004, Sienna unlawfully obtained income tax refunds and Goods and Services Tax Credits and caused the issuance of unwarranted Canada Child Tax Benefits and National Child Benefit Supplements totaling $21,572.

The preceding information was obtained from the court records.

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.

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 valid disclosure before they become aware of any compliance action being initiated by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) 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.

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

Contact Information

  • Neil Shalapata
    Manager, Communications
    416-952-8051