Quebec targets “false address” holders in Ontario

Radio-Canada has learned that Revenu Québec has conducted hundreds of checks over the past several years to find Ontario taxpayers who actually have their primary residence in Quebec.

According to our information, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) even got involved during the pandemic and conducted dozens of investigations to create files for the tax authorities.

Revenu Québec claims to have collected nearly $6 million between 2019 and 2021, including penalties and interest. However, many believe that Quebec is not doing enough to recoup its fair share of taxes.

The situation is causing resentment, especially in the Outaouais, the most densely populated area on the border between Ontario and Quebec.

On the other side of the Ottawa River, Ontario-registered cars are plentiful, as in this area of ​​Gatineau.

Photo: Radio Canada

More and more residents are reporting their neighbors to the authorities, especially in cases where family members have kept Ontario license plates for years, for example.

The situation is likely to escalate as more Ontarians settle in Outaouais, attracted not only by lower housing and electricity costs, but also by more affordable family services like daycare.

A crime that can be paid for

According to various tax experts, some Quebec residents are tempted to use an Ontario address during tax season. For a high-earning couple, the savings can easily exceed $10,000.

At all levels, being in Ontario is more interesting, quite significantly when comparing by income bracketexplains Éric Gélinas, Professor in the Department of Taxation at the University of Sherbrooke.

Accountants say Quebec professionals working for an Ontario-registered company can save even more thanks to the low non-employee small business tax rate.

The investigations increase

According to a spokeswoman who Surete du Quebec set up around fifty cases in 2020 and 2021 related to allegations of tax evasion, mainly in the Outaouais. That Surete du Quebec It declined to go into further detail about its activities and said it was working on those files in partnership with Revenu Québec.

According to our information, the investigations are ongoing Surete du Quebec were fueled by the work of patrol officers conducting checks when non-essential travel was banned during the pandemic. Besides the Surete du Quebec carried out investigations into denunciations by neighbors during this time.

Revenu Québec has a specialized team of accountants in tax residency was founded in 2017. This unit packs a punch fake address scheme in border regions.

Revenu Québec is aware of this pattern and spares no effort to counteract it. The priority for Revenu Québec is to ensure that Québec recovers the full tax revenue owed to him. This is a matter of fairness to all citizens and businesses that live up to their obligations. »

A quote from Geneviève Laurier, spokeswoman for Revenu Québec

In three years, the authority examined 447 people and sent 179 of them assessment notices, often over several years. Overall, Revenu Québec generated $5.7 million in additional revenue.

The Quebec Treasury Secretary’s office claims to be aware Phenomenon of tax avoidance in contiguous regions with other provinces.

We will continue to ensure that the necessary efforts are made to ensure tax justice for allsays Fanny Beaudry-Campeau, spokeswoman for Minister Éric Girard.

Difficult to pin down

New Quebec residents officially have 90 days to register their vehicle with the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. They are also covered by the Quebec Health Insurance Plan after three months.

New residents are also required to pay their taxes in Quebec upon establishing their primary residence in the province on December 31 of each year.

According to Éric Gélinas, place of residence is determined according to a number of objective criteria and not according to the personal preferences of the taxpayer.

Still, this tax attorney agrees that it can be difficult for Quebec authorities to identify Quebec residents using an Ontario address.

To make matters worse, Quebec is the only province that has its own tax collection agency. Residents of other provinces simply submit a declaration to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which handles the federal and provincial components.

Even in cases where a fake address is used, theCanada Revenue Agency don’t lose money.

The federal component is paid anyway and the provincial component is paid in Ontario, so nobody but Quebec is really going to complain about thatsays Mr. Gélinas.

The French Impératif group has complained about the situation for years, saying authorities are complacent with the phenomenon false Ontarians. Quebec taxpayers are the victims, according to the group’s president, Jean-Paul Perreault because they are the ones who have to pay the taxes of these scammers in addition to their own.

The opposition demands a lightning

The Liberal MP for Pontiac Riding in West Outaouais says he regularly hears complaints from citizens about the injustice caused by this tax evasion.

It’s cheatingbelieves André Fortin. It’s all the good taxpayers, the people who do things right, who foot the bill at the end of the day.

André Fortin in the National Assembly.

André Fortin, Liberal MP for Pontiac (archive)

Photo: The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot

Mr Fortin adds that following his discussions with members of the Surete du QuebecInvestigations in such cases take several days.

According to him, by increasing the number of investigations, the provincial authorities must send a clear signal to the population that they take this issue seriously. Among other things, the authorities should specifically address people who have settled permanently in their chalets during the pandemic.

Lightning could send a message. There are many people who could do the right thing if they are at risk of getting caught.he proposes.

André Fortin confirms that it is currently impossible to quantify the state of Quebec’s tax losses. But he believes the total far exceeds the sums collected by Revenu Québec in recent years.

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