The Canada Revenue Agency has begun to record the fingerprints of every person charged with tax evasion, a move that could severely restrict foreign travel for anyone accused but not necessarily convicted of a criminal tax offence.
"Introducing a mandatory fingerprinting policy would serve as a powerful deterrent to those considering committing a serious tax offence or those who may contemplate reoffending," says an internal memorandum justifying the new measure.
"The mobility restriction is an important deterrent, especially for people engaged in offshore tax evasion."
While I can agree with this part;
The document also says the new policy puts those accused of tax evasion on a level playing field with people charged with theft, fraud and financial crimes.
I question doing it before a conviction. Someone charged and acquitted might still have problems because of the fingerprint bank. While the CRA says an acquittal will result in the removal of the prints from the database we all know about the efficiency of government agencies. I speak from experience having worked for one for 35 years.
Walters says if an accused is acquitted of tax evasion, the agency will "request" the fingerprints be removed from the CPIC database — though some law firms specializing in fingerprint "destruction" warn the images could remain for months, depending on the protocols of the police service that registered the prints.
The new policy is part of the agency's renewed emphasis on tax cheats, especially offshore tax evaders, and includes $444.4 million earmarked in last year's budget to combat tax evasion over five years.