$50k fine and community service for Vancouver Island tax evader

David Gonyea was given a nine-month conditional sentence

After pleading guilty in July to three counts of tax evasion under the Income Tax Act and to one count of tax evasion under the Excise Tax Act, Vancouver Island businessman David Gonyea has received his sentence.

On Nov. 15, Gonyea, Coast Hydrovac’s bookkeeper, was given a nine-month conditional sentence which includes a fine of $50,496.50 and 30 hours of community service.

According to a Canada Revenue Agency enforcement notification, an investigation revealed Gonyea, who is from Lake Cowichan, cashed more than 100 cheques payable to Coast Hydrovac at a payday loan company instead of depositing them in the business’s accounts at the bank.

“In total, he failed to report taxable business income of $159,683.77 for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 tax years,” said the enforcement notification, which can be viewed online at the Canada Revenue Agency’s newsroom page. Mr. Gonyea also failed to report and remit a total of $59,438.41 in goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) collected from business operations during that period.”

Details of the case, said the notice, were taken from court documents.

Tax evasion is not taken lightly by the Canada Revenue Agency.

“Those who do not fully comply with tax laws place an unfair burden on law-abiding taxpayers and businesses and jeopardize the integrity of Canada’s tax base,” said the notification. “Wilfully failing to follow tax laws could result in serious consequences, including reassessments, the imposition of civil penalties and criminal tax investigations and prosecutions resulting in the imposition of court fines and jail time.”

Fines can be as high as 200 per cent of the evaded taxes and five years in jail. If a person is convicted of fraud under Section 380 of the Criminal Code, they can face up to 14 years in jail.

And yet, tax evasion is prevalent with the Canada Revenue Agency dealing with $134 million in federal tax evaded for the five-year period between April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018.

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