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Available Expert - Tax loopholes and avoidance in real estate

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Queen's University tax law expert Arthur Cockfield is available to comment on the topic of tax avoidance in real estate transactions. CBC is reporting that the Canada Revenue Agency is looking deeper into tax evasion in some of the country's hottest housing markets - such as Vancouver and Toronto -  after a Globe and Mail investigation suggested that speculators are abusing the system and not paying enough tax on their gains by declaring properties that they are flipping to be "principal residences." 

"There is increasing evidence that taxpayers are gaming the Canadian tax laws by selling homes and pretending they are principal residences, which sell tax free," says Professor Cockfield.

The investigation stems from a Globe and Mail report that found a network of real estate speculators in British Columbia who had flipped homes for profit but had fraudulently declared them as principal residences to avoid having to pay capital gains taxes on their profits. Dr. Cockfield says that recent tax haven data leaks provide further evidence that some taxpayers are cheating the tax system on home sales. He thinks the government should take several steps to fix the problem, including by forcing all home sales to be disclosed.

Dr. Arthur Cockfield is an associate professor with the Queen's Faculty of Law. His research focuses on tax law, technology and privacy. 

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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