Money Received from Abroad: CRA Reviews
As of 2015, financial institutions must report electronic fund transfers (EFT) into Canada of $10,000 or more not only to FINTRAC but also to CRA. Where two or more EFTs of less than $10,000 each are made within 24 consecutive hours by or on behalf of the same individual or entity, and the total is $10,000 or more, they are considered to be a single transaction and must be reported. CRA may use this data to identify and audit taxpayers, with the goal of reassessing the receipts as taxable business income.
In a December 14, 2021 French Court of Quebec case, a married couple had received funds from China totaling just over $600,000 from 2009 to 2011. The taxpayers owned a small restaurant in Montreal. Revenue Québec took the position that, since they could not verify where the funds came from and why, the funds were undeclared income. The taxpayers argued that they were gifts and loans from family members in China.
Although the taxpayers were not able to obtain banking records from China supporting their argument, they were able to have the parties in China corroborate their representations via video conference. The Court determined that this was sufficient to transfer the burden of proof to Revenue Québec, who was not able to demonstrate that the funds were undeclared income. Therefore, the funds received were determined to be non-taxable.
ACTION: Often, support beyond the taxpayer testimony is required to demonstrate that funds received from offshore accounts are not taxable. Recipients of such funds should obtain and retain support demonstrating what the funds were for and who they were from.