The Canada Revenue Agency Informant Leads aka “Snitch” Line

You have come to this blog for more information on the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Informant Leads or Snitch Line.  Yes, the line does exist and if you are looking for the number in order to use it, that number is 1.866.809.6841.

You may have heard me speak on CFAX1070 about the CRA Snitch line, or possibly you heard my interview on CBC.ca regarding the existence and use of this line.  If you have not, then let me take a moment to clear the air on this line.  The Informant Leads line does exist.  In fact, it has become such a popular tool for finding new collection sources that it’s increased volume of calls can be directly attributed to a reduction in the need for collections staff / auditors and investigators who were responsible for digging up new leads.

It is absolutely not possible for someone to call the line, make up a story and have someone investigated.  Anyone who states that does not know the purpose of this line and obviously has no experience working in the CRA.  To say that is irresponsible and fear mongering.   The CRA will act on leads but there must be some proof provided.  Simply asking for your neighbour to be audited because they drive a nicer car than you is not going to begin years or investigations-hell for them.  If, however, you purchase an item from a retail establishment, and are charged taxes, but you notice that the teller never ran the purchase through the till, then you can be assured that they are pocketing the taxes instead of remitting it to the CRA.  Or, if you notice on the receipt that they have charged you the wrong rate of tax, then you need to notify the CRA.

In one case, while I was working at the CRA, I purchased a large ticket item from a local store only to find out later that the taxes on the bill totaled 28%.  I went back to the store to ask for it to be corrected, only to have them advise me that it was a “US cash register” and that the rate was incorrect.  I took the receipt into the office hoping to launch an internal investigation but was told it would be 6-weeks before they were able to look at it.

So I walked over to a phone beside my desk, called the snitch line, explained the issue and after providing the receipt as proof, found that an investigation was launched the next day and heard through the grapevine that over $200,000.00 was recovered from the company.

That is where the snitch line can be put to good use.

If, however, you hear your neighbour bragging about how much money he makes under the table and he lives way better than you do?  You can call the snitch line.   Or if your ex-spouse is unwilling to file their outstanding tax returns because it would mean they would have to increase child support payments, then you can call the snitch line.  The CRA will take the information, begin with an internal investigation to see if there is merit, then possibly drop by the home or business to get a feel for whether an audit is required or if a net worth assessment is needed.

At the end of the day, the intention of the snitch line is to provide a direct link to the CRA’s Audit department and it assists the CRA as they use these “tips” to recover funds from professional tax avoiders.

Key words the CRA likes to hear includes;

Their names, their address, an amount of unreported income greater than, say $50K, maybe a second set of books, or 2nd property in the name of their cat…

It never hurts to call.

It always hurts to not call.

This line is anonymous and believe it or not, the majority of “tips” come from exes who are left holding the bag while their ex-spouses are living it up.

I figured I would post this since it is the most frequently asked question I get.  Yes a line exists and yes it gets acted on… and fast if the dollar amount to be recovered is high.

I have actual experience seeing this line work and I know for certain of instances where people have called this line in effort to discredit or attack someone and at the end of the day, the CRA  has investigated that person or party and punished them for making a false claim.  Those in glass houses should never throw stones.

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21 thoughts on “The Canada Revenue Agency Informant Leads aka “Snitch” Line

  1. I am bothered – my brother in law always has a wad of cash, pays everything with cash, never uses a credit card. He has his own business and I know he does jobs for cash. His brother has his own business and went to jail for tax evasion. I am concerned for my sister because he will get caught eventually, it is inevitable when you buy everything with cash. I have my own business and declare everything. I like our hospitals, health care, roads, community centres. I am proud to be Canadian. I am poor by comparison, paying tons of taxes, and will never really build wealth with my business but it’s more about being home for my kids, even though I work a ton of hours a week.
    What would you recommend

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  2. so you and I get to pay the taxes that your brother is not paying. I am sure he has a health card etc…. and uses it. Probably gets HST credits quarterly. You can either continue to let him rip all the other Canadian Taxpayers off or make it so he pays his fair share!!!! And have the nerve to brag about it. We should be paying for him to stay in a federal jail cell!!!! Tell your brother “thanks for ripping me off” inconsidrate bastard!!!!!!

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    • Hi Sam,

      Are you sending documents to the CRA? Have you made a call to the Informant Leads line? If so, the assigned auditor will reach out to you for that information.

      If not, what forms did you want to send and to whom did you want to send them to?

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  3. My ex wife has lived at a shared address with the same man for over a decade (common law) they file their income tax separately, her common law partner gives his address as being on a reserve, he does not live at, They both collect GST/HST, she has collected child tax benefit for those 10 years on 2 children, my youngest son just turned 18 in May. The reason I ask is I have always filed my taxes and paid child maintenance, but I was injured and I asked the court to adjust my maintenance payment to my actual income and she flipped saying she only made $10,000.00 last year and needs my payment, that’s when I clued in that something wasn’t right.

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  4. My daughter’s Ex has paid tax on dividends earned from his employer for the last several years. His father owns the business. Now that he has walked out on his family he has signed legal divorce papers saying in them that he has never owned shares or received dividends from the company. How can this be? He had often bragged about owning shares in the company.

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    • Hello Brenda,

      I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

      This can be solved quite simply. If he has been receiving dividends from this family business then the family business would be required to provide him with a T5 slip. A copy of that slip is provided to him for income tax reporting purposes, and a copy of that is sent to the CRA for their record keeping purposes.

      If he is telling the court that he never received any dividends from the corporation, your daughter only needs to ask for a copy of his tax returns to be provided. If, however, he shows a return to the court without the slips, the CRA will have them on file, and if for some reason they do not exist, then the CRA would certainly be interested to know that something fishy is going on and that would certainly prompt an audit.

      Either way, it would solve this problem and put this issue to rest.

      Good luck,

      Warren

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  5. hi can anybody allowed to get child tax credits, hst credits and all other benefits from canada government when kids are not going to school in Canada and spouse is also with kids living in other country. what type of proofs I can give for this information

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    • Hello Maria,

      The tax child tax credits are meant for parents who have children in Canada, however the HST rebate is available if you are living in Canada. You can search the CRA website (www.cra.gc.ca) for additional information.

      The Canadian government’s tax system relies on self-reporting so if you claim something which you are not entitled to, they may or may not catch it. If they catch it, they may or may not change you a 50% penalty in addition to asking for the money back and charging interest.

      It’s best to read the CRA website yourself to see what you qualify for, or speak to your accountant.

      Hope this helps!

      Warren

      On Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 2:12 PM, In-TAX-icating

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  6. Hi there,
    My situation is a bit complicated. This is a great website and I am looking for some sage advice.
    I had left Canada temporarily in 2013 to work for a year and will be returning this year in 2014 for graduate studies. During the time that I was out of the country, I was awarded GST/HST credits for tax that I had filed for 2012, although my income for 2013 has remained below the 10,000 level. At the time, I could not declare non-residency not only because I was coming back in a year, but also because we were trying to protect a family friend whose residency requirements were still going on. I am not aware if I could have applied to school had I become a non-resident.
    At the moment, I have a couple of relatives who know of this and although they have done the same thing as well, may want to report me for claiming credits I do not deserve. I could blow the whistle on them as well,but my defense is that I am a factual resident, as I still have a bank account, a health card and residential ties in Canada and will be going back soon.
    Am I at increased risk here?

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  7. I worked for a small family run business for many years. The owners wife also had a business and for the last 20 years has been receiving all her supplies that she provides services with from her husbands business at no charge. She has never paid tax on anything she has received and re sells alot of the products to customers for cash and pockets the money. He has never claimed on his taxes that he has given anything away, he just counts it as a loss of inventory. He also took $50,000 cash out of the business and put it in his personal account but didn’t pay any taxes or claim it in any way. I also know for a fact and have proof that his business taxes are fudged by the accountant ever year. Where do I go with this information?

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    • Hi Teresa,

      The CRA Informant Leads line is where those details should be directed. It will likely trigger a phone call to verify receipts, then an audit of there appears to be something out of the ordinary.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Warren

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  8. My ex is a Cdn. citizen who has not filed a return in Canada since 1979 although he has a residence here , a bank account and health care and DL . He works as an expat in the oil industry and puts his money in offshore accounts. He also maintains Australian citizenship and his investments are all there. What laws might he be breaking?

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    • Hi Pat.

      Many of them, actually.

      The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently announced an incentive program through their “Informant Leads” line (also known as the Snitch line). If you call the line with this information, you may be eligible for a cash reward from the Canadian government. All you need to do is Google CRA informant leads line. There is probably a toll-free version too.

      All information given to the CRA is 100% confidential and with their recent foray into offshore accounts it’s likely he would never this it was you behind it.

      Hope this helps.

      If you have more questions or need more information, feel free to reach out at any time!

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  9. OK…here is one that I don not know how to deal with. My parents owned a family business for 60+ years. My Mom died last year and my brother now owns the business. For the last 15 years or so I have been doing their payroll for them.
    For more years than I have been involved there has been one employee getting use of a vehicle. The deal (made by my parents and this employee) was that he would give up 1 weeks holiday for the use of this vehicle for the year. By my calculations just using the kms driven from his home to work, and work to a nearby town this should be costing about $200. per week.
    After taking a course with CRA in 1997 I learned about Taxable Benefits and approached my mother and their ‘accountant’ who does their HST remits for them and now oversees everything, “that it was too much bother’ and ‘what CRA didn’t know would not hurt them’ respectively.
    I printed all of the information that I could get off the CRA website and gave it to my brother and told him what was happening was wrong and he should change his policies. Nothing happened.

    Situation #2 is that last year he was paying his employees on a 53 week pay period (bonuses were sometimes issued, but the decision was not made until December) and this year he decided he was going to go with a bi-weekly pay period. There are 2 employees on Salary )my son and my brother. So after the first pay of this year, I was accused of fixing by son’s pay because the hourly wage went up by about .33 per hour. I abruptly quit!!! I wrote out proof that it was the change in pay periods that had made the difference, but to no avail. So he got his ‘accountant to come in and show a receptionist how to do the payroll and they cut my son’s pay (with no explanation) back to what it was last year, effectively cutting his pay by over 700. without anything in writing.

    I am contemplating calling CRA because I know they will find much more, but because my son still works there, and they will know exactly where this came from.

    HELP!!

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    • Hi Jean,

      There is a very simple solution here. The CRA regularly performs payroll audits for compliance issues, or just to make sure the B&R’s are in proper order. Maybe it’s their time.

      If you called the Informant Leads line, and leave your concerns there, they will certainly request and audit, and what will probably happen is that the CRA will fix the mistake or adjust the records to record the new way of filing, and they send the taxable benefit out for a ruling.

      I can’t see that they would be able to trace an audit back to you as they regularly perform all the regular audit steps and include the reason for the audit in there so they would have a difficult time knowing unless you told them you would have them audited.

      Your family can also do the same based on their now reduced pay…

      Hope this helps!

      Warren

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  10. So, I have a family member who finally and recently separated from her abusive, alcoholic husband. He has his own business, and was always bragging about all his money and showing off his wad of cash. Now I learn that he claimed just $6000 in income for 2012 and this year he says he made $16,000! This is completely ridiculous, and he is doing tons of work under the table. He has an antique car, a truck, cube van and two trailers. he also has a cottage. He has an employee who he pays cash, and who is on social assistance without declaring his income.

    She, on the other hand, has modest wage income. We are worried that she will end up having to pay him spousal support!

    My question is this: Suppose we call the snitch line, he is investigated, and he ends up owing a bunch of back taxes and penalties. Is there a risk that she will end up being liable for half that debt? The business is in his name only, and she did not work for the business, except maybe to help him send an email once in awhile.

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    • Hello George,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The only way a spouse could be held liable for a tax debt is if she was a director of the corporation (if it was incorporated), or if she was a de-facto director (he is the director but she carried on the operations).

      The only other way she could be liable is if, for example, they jointly owned an asset, like a house, and because he had a tax debt he gives her his share of the asset for less than the fair market value (like giving her his share of their house – valued at $300,000 – for $1.00). In that case, the CRA can, and will, assess her for his debts.

      It’s very common.

      If none of these situations exist, the CRA would love to hear about him, as they are really ramping up their “Net Worth Audit” program whereby they look at declared income and everything else to see where there is a discrepancy.

      Hope this helps!

      Warren

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  11. My ex and I are legally separated.I of course am entitled to my share of his pention.The amount was 25,ooo.oo.Acourt order was in an affect.He retired early 3 years ago,and got over 1000,000.00.He spent it all even mine.He owes revenue Canada over 68,000.00.So my lawyer made a deal 2 more years of spousal support and put a fist charge on his estate for my pention when he dies.After the fact I found out he transferred a truck worth 38,ooo.oo to his son to hide an asset,not only from me but revenue Canada.I have reported all this information to revenue Canada,because this truck could have been sold and I would have got my pention.First question will revenue Canada take my money to which by law I am entitled,and will they check what I have told them and make him sell iit for money owed to them………………………..

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  12. my nephew and his wife lived common law for 3 years and 2 of which they had a child. He owns his own business and has faithfully filed his returns each year, but had always claimed single to allow her to use her lower income on her own returns. What he did not realize was that she was collecting huge benefits and tax breaks and did not know she was using his own parents address as her place of residence, nor did they. They are in a custody battle and he needs to discredit her ability to tell the truth. Will this adversely affect his own returns? Would he have to pay back anything, he didn’t claim her or get any tax credit because of her and their son. But she on the other hand reaped the benefits and he had no idea until now.

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  13. My brother rents a condo apartment to my mother at a below market rate, he claims the rent and associated expenses, my mother also claims the rent as a rent expense. This doesn’t seem right is it?

    Like

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