Ineffective, but expensive

Dave Killion — August 24, 2011

Hell yes he works for cash, and so do his friends from the YMCA!

The Canada Revenue Agency spent almost $1 million on an ad campaign warning Atlantic Canadians against the risks involved in taking part in the underground home renovations market, including a survey to measure the results. Success? Weeeeell, not so much

“Neither the likelihood of participating in the underground economy, nor perceptions of whether the risks are worth it, was significantly affected by the campaign,” says a July 2011 report by Corporate Research Associates Inc.

Which is not to say the campaign had no effect at all –

“The survey report’s only positive finding was that people were better informed about how widespread the underground economy is in the region.”

Way to go CRA! Discourage tax cheats by waking people up to the fact that EVERYONE is doing it!

Of course the government wants all those sweet, sweet taxes it is missing out on, but this effort is also driven by a portion of the construction industry. The larger companies that operate ‘legitimately’ want ‘a level playing field’, and campaign endlessly for more government prosecution. Their goals could also be accomplished by sharp reductions in taxes, regulation, and licensing fees, but that’s not the kind of level playing field they want. They want a field surrounded by regulatory barriers so high that the new guys can’t join in. Too bad for them consumers don’t want to play that game.

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