Question in the House - AG report says CRA has failed to collect $29 billion in unpaid taxes

Murray Rankin Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, they are doing everything they can to keep the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from doing its work but nothing to recover money associated with tax evasion.

The Conservatives are sitting on $29 billion in unpaid taxes. Instead of allocating the resources needed to recover this money, they are cutting CRA's budget. Nothing they have done since coming to power has yielded any results.

What real plan do they have to recover the money?

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General was very clear and stated that the improvements the Canada Revenue Agency has made have resulted in a significant increase in the amount of tax debt being collected. We accept all of the Auditor General's most recent recommendations, and we have already taken action on the recommendations, including measures to ensure that tax debts do not expire.

Our economic action plan proposes a number of measures to close tax loopholes, address aggressive tax planning and crack down on international tax evasion, and we will be happy to see the opposition vote for it.

Murray Rankin Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about almost $30 billion in uncollected taxes, and all we hear from this minister is self-congratulation. Her own plan cut $68 million from the accounts receivable and returns compliance department alone.

How can the government make these cuts, when there is $29 billion in uncollected tax debt? Then there are the billions of dollars in tax havens, which the Conservatives are taking baby steps to go after.

When will the government listen to the Auditor General and get serious about tax collection?

 Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, since 2006, our government has introduced over 75 measures to improve the integrity of the tax system. The NDP voted against all of those.

The Auditor General was clear and has stated that the improvements that have been made at the Canada Revenue Agency have resulted in a significant increase in the amount of tax debt collected. In the fiscal year 2011-12 alone, the CRA recovered over $40 billion in tax debt.