Federal revenue agency writes off billions in ’uncollectible’ tax debts

Newly released records show the federal revenue agency has written off at least $4 billion in debts in the last two years — including accounts worth more than $10 million.

OTTAWA — Newly released records show the federal revenue agency has written off at least $4 billion in debts in the last two years — including accounts worth more than $10 million.

Debts were declared uncollectible because those owing had died, gone bankrupt, could not be located or lived outside Canada, according to Canada Revenue Agency records obtained under the Access to Information Act.

In other cases, officials considered it not worth the expense to track down the money owing or they reached a compromise settlement with the debtor.

The revenue agency says it makes every effort to collect all tax debts from those who do not pay voluntarily.

Murray Rankin, the NDP’s deputy revenue critic, questioned whether the government is doing enough to collect the substantial sums owed to the federal treasury.

The heavily censored revenue agency records indicate that between July and October last year, there appeared to be at least two cases in which the write-offs were greater than $10 million apiece.

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