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CRA finds nearly $600 million in unpaid taxes in B.C. and Ontario real estate sector

By JEN ST. DENIS for The Star Vancouver

VANCOUVER—The Canada Revenue Agency has found nearly $600 million in unpaid taxes in Ontario and British Columbia’s real estate sector over the past three years. It has levied $47 million in penalties for the same period.

In B.C. alone, $169 million in unpaid taxes were related to real estate transactions and income tax, the agency found. In Ontario, whose population is three times greater than B.C.’s, that number was $423 million.

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“I am delighted,” said Richard Kurland, a Vancouver immigration lawyer who for years has lobbied for more scrutiny of real estate transactions, as well as several immigration programs that were directed toward wealthy investors.

“It’s a reasonable representation,” he said of the amount of unpaid taxes, “but I don’t think it tells the whole picture at all.”

The federal agency began examining real estate transactions more closely starting in 2015, and says there continue to be “compliance risks” in real estate transactions in the heated Vancouver and Toronto markets.

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