Keith David Lawson, Another Tax Protester, Sentenced to Jail in Tax Prosecution

In what is becoming a very familiar situation another self styled educator with the Paradigm Education Group tax protester movement (actually more of a de-taxer franchise) has been sentenced to a jail term for tax evasion and counselling others to evade as a result of a successful tax prosecution.

Mr. Keith David Lawson of Burnaby, B.C., was the latest tax protester to be sentenced to incarceration when the BC Supreme Court ordered a six month jail term for each of two counts of tax evasion on Oct. 31, 2016. He was also committed to 12 months in jail to be served consecutively for one count of counselling others to evade taxes and was handed a tax fine of $30,717.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) makes a point of publicizing tax prosecution convictions for tax evasion, and is very concerned with discrediting tax protestors or de-taxers. The tax proseuction convictions and jail and tax fine sentences came after a CRA criminal tax fraud investigation that found Lawson failed to report total income of $159,629 for the 2004 to 2008 years, thereby evading $18,036 in federal income taxes. He also failed to remit $12,681 in Goods and Services Tax (GST) on his earnings for the 2005 to 2008 tax years.

The Paradigm Education Group is a tax protest scheme founded by Russell Porisky of Chilliwack, BC. Porisky heavily marketed the Paradigm Education Group both through seminars conducted by “educators” and over the internet, such as in YouTube videos. Porisky through the Paradigm Education Group said that “income tax is nothing more than an internal federal excise tax which is only mandatory for those who choose to work as a legal representative, under an implied contract of service, for the benefit of a federally created legal (artificial) person known as a ‘taxpayer.’”

This de-taxer scheme based on a so-called "natural person" argument has been found to be without any merit by every court that has examined it. Participants have all been convicted of tax evasion and many have been sentenced to jail terms. Mr. Porisky himself was sentenced to four years in jail and ordered to pay tax fines of $260,000. Elaine Gould, his partner, was sentenced to one day in jail and fined an amount of $38,242.

Our experienced Vancouver tax lawyers have experience with tax protester schemes and arguments and have helped de-taxers avoid tax prosecution and come back into the tax system through a CRA voluntary disclosure (VDP or tax amnesty). The CRA voluntary disclosure program allows Canadian taxpayers who have committed a tax wrong, such as failure to file tax returns or deliberate tax evasion by not reporting income, to avoid tax prosecution and civil tax penalties. Taxpayers have to approach CRA, through our top Vancouver tax lawyers, on a voluntary basis before CRA commences a tax audit or tax prosecution investigation. By making a tax lawyer initiated CRA voluntary disclosure the Canada Revenue Agency will not prosecute for tax evasion and will not levy civil tax penalties.