PayPal ordered to disclose business accounts to Canada Revenue Agency

Online payments company has 45 days to hand over information identifying its account holders

The records of Canadians who use PayPal business accounts to make and receive payments will soon be in the hands of the federal government’s tax-collecting agency.

The online payments company said Wednesday it has been given 45 days to hand over information identifying its account holders and the amount and number of payments they paid or received between Jan. 1, 2014, and last Friday to the Canada Revenue Agency.

“We are required to disclose information about business account holders who have received or sent a payment,” it says on its website. “Affected account holders have been notified.”

CRA spokesman Patrick Samson confirmed that the agency received Federal Court of Canada authorization to request the information, part of a crackdown on Canada’s underground economy.

“Specifically, the CRA is seeking PayPal’s list of Canadian clients who have a commercial account, including the total value of their transactions (purchases and sales) from 2014 to the date of the requirement,” he said.

“The information obtained through the unnamed persons requirement will allow the CRA to ensure that these individuals and corporations comply with their tax obligations under the Income Tax Act.”

PayPal Canada says it has more than 6.4 million active users, although that includes personal accounts which are not affected by the CRA move.

Hussein Warsame, a tax professor with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, linked the data grab to the federal government’s 2017 budget, which provided a five-year funding boost to the CRA to fight tax evasion by investigating the underground economy.

“They think people who use PayPal are probably avoiding tax and therefore they’re using the extra funding to basically look for low-hanging fruit,” he said.

“It is a fishing expedition, in many ways.”

He said the agency is likely offering the 45-day window to allow people who haven’t paid their taxes as required to file tax revision forms and come back into compliance with the tax act.

Warsame said the files could allow the CRA to identify people who have had more than $30,000 in business revenue over 12 months, which means they should be registered to collect and remit the GST.

It also may identify people or corporations who owe corporate or personal income taxes. If caught, they will have to pay the tax, plus penalties and interest. If the tax avoidance is deliberate, it could be considered tax evasion and result in a criminal charge, he said.

He said Canadians are required to retain tax records for six years and recommended that PayPal customers pull together their records to prepare for potential audits.

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Kris Kringle Craft Market brought some early Christmas cheer to Nanaimo

Video and photos from the event held the past four days at the Beban Park social centre

Nanaimo transit riders being asked for their feedback

RDN Transit will host open houses starting Nov. 26 regarding plans for south Nanaimo routes

Salvation Army in Nanaimo calling volunteers to Christmas Kettle Campaign

Organizers asking for volunteers to fill thousands of hours on donation kettle shifts

Barsby Bulldogs bite GW Graham in high school football playoffs

Nanaimo high school senior team wins 49-20, advances to face top-ranked Vernon

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

Great Nanaimo Toy Drive begins its campaign leading up to Christmas

The 36th Great Nanaimo Toy Drive will make sure children have presents on Christmas morning

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read