Ottawa writes off billions
Newly released records show the federal revenue agency has written off at least $4 billion in debts in the last two years — including accounts worth more than $10 million.
Debts were declared uncollectible because those owing had died, gone bankrupt, could not be located or lived outside Canada, according to Canada Revenue Agency records obtained under the Access to Information Act.
In other cases, officials considered it not worth the expense to track down the money owing or they reached a compromise settlement with the debtor.
The revenue agency says it makes every effort to collect all tax debts from those who do not pay voluntarily.
Murray Rankin, the NDP’s deputy revenue critic, questioned whether the government is doing enough to collect the substantial sums owed to the federal treasury.
The outstanding balance in undisputed, unpaid taxes was $29 billion as of March 31, 2012, he federal auditor general reported in a 2013 examination of the issue.
According to the latest federal public accounts, the Canada Revenue Agency wrote off $3.4 billion in debts in 2013-14, representing the lion's share of $3.7 billion in total federal write-offs.