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Pandora Papers Reveal Canada Is “A Hub” of Global Tax Avoidance Scheme, Watchdog Says
Following the release of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released its findings on the Pandora Papers, a collection of 12 million documents from 14 offshore financial institutions. James Cohen of Transparency International said the papers show that "Canada is a hub" of illicit financial flows and offshore called for the creation of a public registry for corporate beneficial ownership. The governing Liberal Party had announced in its 2021 federal budget that such a registry would be created by 2025.
Income Tax in Canada
Federal income tax was initiated in Canada in 1917 to help finance the First World War. The struggling economy and a political crisis resulting from conscription triggered its need. In the first years, income tax was imposed on a minute share of the population, but today, almost 80 per cent of Canada’s population files tax returns.
Taxation in Canada
Taxes are mandatory payments by individuals and corporations to government. They are levied to finance government services, redistribute income, and influence the behaviour of consumers and investors. The Constitution Act, 1867 gave Parliament unlimited taxing powers and restricted those of the provinces to mainly direct taxation (taxes on income and property, rather than on activities such as trade). Personal income tax and corporate taxes were introduced in 1917 to help finance the First World War (see Income Tax in Canada). The Canadian tax structure changed profoundly during the Second World War. By 1946, direct taxes accounted for more than 56 per cent of federal revenue. The federal government introduced a series of tax reforms between 1987 and 1991; this included the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In 2009, the federal, provincial and municipal governments collected $585.8 billion in total tax revenues