Nearly 7,000 Canadian tax cheats confess: report

Nearly 7,000 Canadian tax cheats confess: report

They revealed they had not paid taxes on 1.66 billion Canadian dollars (USD 1.58 billion) of assets, National Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn's told the daily National Post.

In September, Canadian tax officials met with UBS bank officials in a much-publicised bid to uncover Canadian fortunes hidden in offshore accounts, on the heels of a landmark deal settling a bruising US lawsuit against the Swiss bank seeking account information in the hunt for tax evaders.

If UBS did not cooperate, Blackburn told AFP prior to the meetings, "we'll go to court to get the information." Talks are "still ongoing" his spokeswoman said yesterday.

Blackburn told the National Post that 6,798 Canadians have since then come forward to say they owed taxes -- 50 per cent more than in all of 2008.

"People realised that it's a question of time before we get them," he said. "I tell them, we'll get you, we'll find you."

In Canada, people can avoid prosecution for tax evasion if they voluntarily disclose to the government that they owe back taxes and pay interest on late payments.