Paradigm “educator” sentenced to 4.5 years in jail for tax protester scheme

THE Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that Debbie Arlene Anderson of Chilliwack, B.C., was sentenced on Thursday, in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to four and a half years in jail and fines totaling $35,026.71. Anderson was convicted and sentenced in relation to charges of income tax evasion, goods and services tax (GST) evasion, and counselling fraud.

A CRA investigation determined that Anderson failed to report total income of $165,731.45 for the 2005 to 2007 tax years and, as a result, evaded $22,689.90 in federal income tax payable. In addition, Anderson failed to collect and remit $12,336.81 in GST for the 2005 to 2007 tax years.

Anderson was an “educator” with the Paradigm Education Group (Paradigm), a fraudulent scheme that counselled people across Canada to evade taxes. Paradigm sold products (books, DVDs, and CDs), organized and taught fee-based seminars, which “educated” people on how to structure their affairs in a way to illegally avoid taxes.

The CRA said it warns all Canadians to beware of “tax protesters” who try to convince you that Canadians do not have to pay tax on the income they earn. Canadian courts have repeatedly and consistently rejected arguments made in these tax protester schemes. For those involved in tax protester schemes, the CRA will reassess income tax and interest, and charge penalties. In addition, if convicted of tax evasion, the court may fine them up to 200% of the tax evaded and sentence them for up to a five-year jail term. More information on tax protester schemes is available at Canada.ca/tax-alert.

If you have made an omission in your dealings with the CRA, made a tax mistake or left out details about income on your tax return, the Agency may give you a second chance to correct your tax affairs and avoid criminal prosecution. The Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) may give you the opportunity to come forward, make things right, and have peace of mind. Disclosures that are made before the CRA launches an enforcement action such as an audit or criminal investigation may only result in you having to pay taxes owed plus interest. That being said, the VDP is currently under review. More information on the VDP can be found on the CRA website at Canada.ca/taxes-voluntary-disclosures.

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