A local business owner has been ordered to pay back more than $70,000 in taxes he didn’t pay, refunds he received and GST he did not remit.
Ronald Henry pleaded guilty in Yorkton court April 29 to five counts of tax evasion, obtaining a refund under false pretences and failing to remit GST collected. In exchange for the guilty plea, the federal Crown issued a stay of proceedings on 17 other charges.
Following a routine audit of Darrock Stucco’s tax returns for 2009 and 2010, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) turned the case over to its enforcement division, the prosecutor said. After executing warrants on three locations in Yorkton, investigators found the company had failed to report nearly $260,000 in revenue over the two-year period.
The Crown requested the defendant be required to pay back the resulting $57,000 in taxes, $2,600 in refunds and $11,000 in GST not remitted at 100 per cent. The Income Tax and Excise Tax Acts prescribe convicted tax evaders must pay no less than 50 per cent and no more than 200 per cent of the owed amounts.
The crown submitted that the principles of general deterrence and condemnation informed sentencing in a case such as this. She said tax evasion, in addition to being inappropriate conduct and dishonest, is “unfair to fellow Canadians” and undermines the honour system on which the tax system relies.
The defence submitted that it was the company’s tax preparer who was to blame and suggested that may be cause for future civil litigation. Nevertheless, the attorney said his client takes responsibility for signing the false returns recognizing the civil matter is not a defence.
Defence cited Henry’s lack of prior record and early guilty pleas as mitigating circumstances and told the Court they were ready to make restitution immediately.
The judge accepted the submissions as reasonable and ordered Henry to pay CRA forthwith the full amount of $70,315.