The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has launched a consultation on a series of proposed changes to its Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP), which allows taxpayers to avoid potential tax penalties when they correct their tax filings voluntarily.

The VDP allows taxpayers to come forward and disclose omissions from their tax filings in exchange for potential relief from the penalties they would face if the issues were uncovered in an audit. The CRA is seeking to narrow the program's eligibility requirements; to set additional conditions on program participants; and to provide less generous relief in certain circumstances.

"The VDP will no longer be a ‘one size fits all' program," the CRA says. "Major cases of non-compliance that are disclosed will not receive the same level of relief as they would through the current program."

The proposals are currently out for a 60-day online consultation with comments due by Aug. 8. The Minister of National Revenue aims to announce formal changes to the program this autumn.

"Our government has made cracking down on tax cheats a priority, because when everyone pays their fair share, we all continue to benefit from the social programs that improve our quality of life," says Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, in a statement.

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