Canadians dodged paying Ottawa somewhere between $800 million and $3 billion worth of taxes on foreign personal income in 2014, says a new federal estimate released Thursday.
The study by the Canada Revenue Agency says the missing funds represented between 0.6 per cent and 2.2 per cent of the total income tax revenue Ottawa collected that year from individuals.
So far, the federal government has collected up to $14.6 billion less than it would have in 2014, had all tax obligations been fully met — and that number is expected to grow as the agency's research continues.
In previous reports, the agency has already released other estimates on the so-called tax gap — the difference between what is owed to the government and what was collected — for personal income tax and the federal portion of the GST and HST.
The agency's next study will focus on domestic and international businesses, a report it says will provide CRA with its first estimate of Canada's overall tax gap.
The latest numbers come as Ottawa invests more resources in analyzing and cracking down on tax evasion.
"Most Canadians pay their fair share of taxes," National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier said in a statement. "They expect their government to pursue people and businesses that try to avoid doing the same."
The agency said Thursday that international audits it conducted between 2014-15 and 2016-17 uncovered close to $1 billion in income — and identified $284 million in additional taxes. In the process, it assessed 370 individuals, 200 corporations and a small number of trusts.
The CRA analysis also found that in 2014, Canadians earned $9 billion in foreign income and held a total of $429 billion worth of assets outside the country — with most of it reported in the United States and the United Kingdom.