October 19, 2016 - 1:18 PM
OTTAWA - An Ottawa dentist previously convicted of tax evasion has been handed an additional five-year prison sentence for deliberately choosing not to pay her original fine.
Tania Kovaluk pleaded guilty in November 2012 to multiple counts of evading income and sales taxes and of counselling others to wilfully ignore tax bills.
She was originally sentenced to two years, five months in jail and fined $887,328.
But the Canada Revenue Agency says that since Kovaluk was released from jail, she has made no effort to pay the fine, which was due in full by June 30, 2014.
She knowingly failed to report almost $2.6 million in income between 2003 and 2007, avoiding $721,000 in taxes.
Kovaluk was also a promoter of the "Paradigm Education Group" which claims people can avoid paying taxes by declaring themselves a "natural person."
"In addition to spending large amounts of money on personal luxury items such as art, jewelry, vacations, a home in Ottawa, and personal home furnishings, Kovaluk invested her money in offshore assets, including two villas in Costa Rica," the Canada Revenue Agency said in a release Wednesday.
"Kovaluk transferred her ownership of these villas to third parties for no consideration, with the intention of avoiding payment of her court-imposed fine."
The Paradigm scheme is the brainchild of Russell Porisky of Chilliwack, B.C., who posits a theory that governments artificially created a legal definition of a person — an individual who owns property, receives government benefits, votes and pays taxes. People can opt out of paying taxes, in Porisky's scheme, simply by declaring themselves "natural."
Porisky was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison and fined $259,482 in July for tax evasion after a protracted court battle.
At trial, Porisky maintained the tax system is a "foreign parasite" designed by international bankers and against the word of God. His trial heard that Porisky passed on his theory to more than 800 people at paid seminars.
Kovaluk's original conviction included her pleading guilty to counselling others to participate in the scheme, including nine employees at her Ottawa dental clinic.
A second Ottawa dentist and his wife were convicted and sentenced on similar tax evasion charges in January 2013.
"Canadian courts have repeatedly and consistently rejected the arguments made in these tax protester schemes," said the Canada Revenue Agency release.
According to internal CRA documents obtained in 2014 by the news site Blacklock's Reporter, such "tax protests" are a growing concern.
"The Canada Revenue Agency is the victim of a widespread and continually growing scheme to defraud the federal government of millions of dollars in tax revenues," said the assessment from the CRA's Enforcement and Disclosures Directorate.
"Law-abiding taxpayers need to be reassured that fraud does not pay, or they will look to join the multitude of fraudsters."
— Follow @BCheadle on Twitter
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016