Voluntary Disclosures Program
Make things right by reporting your past tax mistakes
The Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and promotes compliance with Canada's tax laws. Through the VDP, the CRA encourages you to come forward and correct your tax affairs.
You may file a disclosure to correct inaccurate or incomplete information, or to provide information you may have omitted in your previous dealings with the CRA. More specifically, this includes information you have previously reported that was not complete, information you have reported incorrectly, or information you did not provide previously to the CRA.
- Who can make a voluntary disclosure?
- What kind of information can I disclose?
- Why would I make a voluntary disclosure?
- What is a valid disclosure?
- How do I make a voluntary disclosure and where do I send it?
- What should I expect after I submit my disclosure?
- What is the effective date of disclosure?
- Will the CRA contact me after I submit my disclosure?
- How will I be advised of the CRA's decision on my disclosure submission?
- What can I do if I disagree with the decision?
- Can I make a disclosure anonymously?
- What information do I have to provide with my no-name disclosure?
- What happens after I provide the CRA with my identification?
- Can I speak with a VDP officer about my disclosure submission?
- Is there a limit as to how many years back the VDP will require information?
- How many times can I submit a voluntary disclosure?
- When should I make a payment of the taxes I owe in relation to my disclosure?
1. Who can make a voluntary disclosure?
Any taxpayer can make a disclosure. You can be an individual, a business or trust, resident or non-resident, employer or payor. You can also have an authorized representative submit a disclosure on your behalf.
2. What kind of information can I disclose?
Some of the types of disclosed information that you can submit include (please note this list is not exhaustive):
- unreported personal or business income, from sources within or outside of Canada;
- unreported source deductions;
- unreported withholding tax (Part 1 or Part XIII);
- late-filed income tax returns (e.g. T1, T2, T3);
- late-filed information returns (e.g. T4, T4A-NR, NR4, T106, T1134, T1135);
- expenses you were not entitled to claim; and
- GST/HST omissions or wash transactions;
Please refer to GST/HST memorandum 16.3.1, Reduction of Penalty and Interest in Wash Transaction Situations.
3. Why would I make a voluntary disclosure?
By filing a valid voluntary disclosure with the CRA, you would pay only the taxes you owe plus interest, and you may avoid penalties and potential prosecution on the information accepted under the program.
4. What is a valid disclosure?
A valid disclosure must meet all of the following four conditions:
- be voluntary (you make a disclosure before you become aware of any compliance action initiated by the CRA against you with respect to the disclosed information);
- may involve a penalty;
- include information that is generally more than one year overdue; and
- be complete (It must include the appropriate information to support your disclosure submission, including information that may be required for other business lines or associated or related parties. To avoid processing delays, this information should be provided with your initial submission. Failure to provide information upon request may result in your disclosure being denied).
See IC00-1R3, Voluntary Disclosures Program for more information.
5. How do I make a voluntary disclosure and where do I send it?
Complete and sign Form RC199, Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) - Taxpayer Agreement (available from the CRA website), or send a letter providing the equivalent information as the RC199. If an authorized representative will be submitting the disclosure on your behalf, they must also include a signed copy of either Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative, or Form RC59, Business Consent, and mail or fax it to the following CRA tax centres (depending on your residence address or, for businesses, your operating address):
If you are a resident of, or your principal place of business (for corporations) is, the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta (the Prairie Region), Nunavut or the Northwest Territories, please send your disclosure submissions to:
The Voluntary Disclosures Program
Shawinigan-Sud Tax Centre
Post Office Box 3000, Station Bureau-chef
Shawinigan, QC G9N 7S6
If you are a resident of, or your principal place of business (for corporations) is, British Columbia (the Pacific Region), or Yukon please send your disclosure submissions to:
The Voluntary Disclosures Program
Surrey Tax Centre
9755 King George Boulevard
Surrey, BC V3T 5E1
6. What should I expect after I submit my disclosure?
As of October 2013, the CRA began sending acknowledgment letters in receipt of disclosure submissions. The CRA normally sends acknowledgement letters within two weeks of receipt of the disclosure. The acknowledgement letter will include information about the next steps in the process.
7. What is the effective date of disclosure?
The effective date of disclosure is the date the CRA received your completed submission. The date is stamped on the envelope when it is received in the CRA mailroom.
You will begin to receive the benefits of the program for the information you disclosed on the effective date of disclosure.
8. Will the CRA contact me after I submit my disclosure?
The CRA may send you a letter requesting more information. You will have 30 days to submit this information or your disclosure will be denied.
9. How will I be advised of the CRA's decision on my disclosure submission?
Once the CRA has reviewed your submission, we will advise you in writing of the decision to accept or deny your disclosure.
10. What can I do if I disagree with the decision?
If you believe that the decision on your disclosure was not fair and reasonable, you may request a second review of your file by writing to the Director of the tax centre that issued the original decision. The CRA will not consider a request for a second review if your original disclosure was denied because you did not provide the information requested within the stipulated time frame.
11. Can I make a disclosure anonymously?
Yes, you can make a disclosure anonymously. This method is called the “no-name” method.
A no-name disclosure is a disclosure in which you do not identify yourself on the initial disclosure submission. The no-name method requires that you demonstrate up front how you meet the four criteria. You must also supply the supporting information just as you would for a disclosure where the taxpayers' identity is provided up front.
However, you will have 90 calendar days to provide the identity of the taxpayer involved. This 90-day period will not begin on the date you send in your original disclosure, but on the date the CRA sends you a letter advising you that the 90-day count has begun. You must provide the identity of the taxpayer, on or before the 90th day or we will close the disclosure file without further contact.
For information about the 90-day policy, please see paragraphs 26 to 28 in the Information Circular, IC00-1R3, Voluntary Disclosures Program.
12. What information do I have to provide with my no-name disclosure?
You must provide the same information as a named disclosure, excluding the name. You must also provide the first three characters of the postal code of your residence or, for businesses, your operating address.
13. What happens after I provide the CRA with my identification?
Once you have provided your identification as indicated in question Q12, we will make a decision on the disclosure submission and advise you in writing of that decision. We may contact you to provide additional information.
14. Can I speak with a VDP officer about my disclosure submission?
Yes, if you have received a letter requesting additional information you will be provided with a reference number and telephone number to contact.
If we have not assigned you a VDP reference number and you have general questions on the VDP, please see Information Circular, IC00-1R3, Voluntary Disclosures Program, or contact the following general enquiries lines:
International and non-residents: International tax and non-resident enquiries
15. Is there a limit as to how many years back the VDP will require information?
There is no limit as to how far back the VDP may request or review information. A disclosure must be complete in providing all the relevant information to allow the VDP officer to appropriately review and determine whether statute-barred years should be opened for re-assessment. Income will be assessed in the year that it is earned. If you have not filed for several years (non-filers), you are expected to update all your tax years.
16. How many times can I submit a voluntary disclosure?
You are expected to be compliant after using the VDP. You cannot make a second submission for the same issue in which you originally received the benefits of the VDP.
However, the CRA will consider a second disclosure in situations where the circumstances were beyond your control. In this case, you must provide your name and advise the CRA that you had previously made a disclosure. If you do not disclose the fact that you previously filed a disclosure and this information is uncovered by the CRA, your disclosure may be considered invalid and denied.
17. When should I make a payment of the taxes I owe in relation to my disclosure?
You need to pay any tax and interest due as soon as you submit your disclosure. Otherwise, interest will continue to accrue on any amount outstanding, until the CRA receives full payment.
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