Never underestimate how much Canadians hate cheaters. And never underestimate how willing people are to cash in on other people’s misdeeds.
They are messages that have to be drawn from a Canadian Press story on Monday about the success of a new tips line opened by the federal government on Jan. 15.
The Offshore Tax Informant Program has already had more than 800 people call, perhaps in part because of a rich rewards program. The tipster earns up to 15 per cent of taxes that the agency eventually collects.
It isn’t exactly an original idea. The Internal Revenue Service in the United States has a similar setup and they paid out millions, in part because they reward tipsters up to 30 per cent.
And it took a while to launch in Canada, with the line starting up 10 months after it first announced.
Of the 800 calls so far, the Canadian line actually had just 251 informants, with 100 identifying themselves and providing detailed information on the alleged tax evasion. If you want to collect, that’s a necessary step.
Of those 100 files, 20 were quickly closed but the others are under investigation.
The program has a tips budget of $700,000 but hasn’t parted with any of it just yet as the investigations continue.
It’s a necessary step at an agency that is operating with an astonishing 2,500 fewer staff over the last few years.
While it’s not ideal, it’s better than letting tax cheats off the hook.
The snitch program, with an annual budget of about $700,000, has not paid out any rewards to date.
Let’s hope that changes soon as they begin to reel in tax cheats.
• • •
It’s a fascinating glimpse into the human mind every four years when the World Cup rolls around.
German midfielder Mario Goetze won his country’s fourth title on Sunday when he took off a ball off his chest and drove it home past Argentine goaltender Sergio Romero 113 minutes into the final.
The nation had earlier won in 1954, 1974 and 1990.
It’s an interesting phenomenon watching the people around us getting swept up into the event. The beautiful game, as it is known, has always been a sport that many people play but they don’t necessarily follow very closely at its highest levels.
You’ll talk to people who quickly catch World Cup fever even though they haven’t watched a soccer match in four years.
It’s the same thing that happens at the Olympics; Canadians who are indifferent at best to sports like triathlon or snowboarding become huge fans for the two weeks the Games are held.
When it comes to soccer, there’s room for growth in Canada yet.
The World Cup brings together the 32 nations in the world who earn a berth in the top tournament in the world.
Canada has made it just once, back in 1986 when they went 0-3, losing to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union in their pool.
If Canada made its way back to the World Cup they would be tremendous underdogs, something the people of this nation would be quick to support.
In the meantime, as Canada continues to build its program, Germany will hold the title for four years.
Congratulations to their players and fans for their victory.
Prince Albert Daily Herald