Revenue agency routinely failed to meet Access to Information deadlines on KPMG
May 19, 2016
The Canada Revenue Agency routinely failed to meet deadlines under the Access to Information Act after receiving requests for documents about the KPMG offshore tax scandal and private lobbying meetings with the accounting industry, according to a summary provided by the agency itself.
CBC News began making requests to the federal agency more than a year ago for information about compliance officials and their meetings with KPMG executives, Department of Justice officials, and industry lobbyists — yet deadlines to produce those records have repeatedly not been met.
In 2013, the CRA obtained a judge's order forcing KPMG to hand over the names of wealthy clients caught using an offshore tax dodge based on the Isle of Man, a small European island between Ireland and England. Earlier this year CBC News revealed the CRA offered a secret amnesty deal to those clients to avoid paying penalties — so long as they never talked about it in public.
In response to one CBC News request, officials issued a 360-day extension to provide the materials. The agency has missed deadlines legislated under the act for several other requests for information, with no indication of when the results will be provided. And for one request that was eventually completed, it took CRA nearly 11 months to provide just three pages.
"In any normal functioning, transparent system, you would have had those within a few weeks," says Dean Beeby, a CBC News senior reporter specializing in Access to Information requests. "Three pages, that should have been delivered within 30 days or less."
The limited records that have been provided to CBC News suggest those that are still in the pipeline may contain valuable information.
One set of documents describes the lobbying efforts of a former CRA senior policy adviser working for accounting industry association CPA Canada to limit the powers of CRA auditors. Another set of documents reveals a group of tax accountants lobbied senior CRA officials on tax regulation and an "enhanced" relationship with the agency in the afternoon and hosted them for a private soiree at the Rideau Club in the evening.
Read more @ http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cra-kpmg-accountants-lobbying-1.3584801
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