www.lexisnexis.ca Vol. 31, No. 16 December 2015
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Lazer can beam in from afar with a virtual office presence

When Joel Lazer watched the Jetsons on TV as a kid, he was really looking into a crystal ball.

He just didn’t know it at the time.

The Winnipeg-based senior partner at Lazer Grant LLP isn’t zipping to work in a little spaceship like George Jetson did but he does have a robot on the payroll.

He and his staff call the Beam+ machine, a product of California-based Suitable Technologies, “Sheldon,” in honour of the character on “The Big Bang Theory,” who has used one on the popular television show.

Carrot dangled by OSC is now a lot bigger

The Ontario Securities Commission hopes boosting the maximum reward under its newly proposed whistleblowing program to $5 million, more than triple the cap the provincial regulator originally proposed earlier this year, will create powerful motivation for people to step forward.

“We think that our whistleblower program is going to be a game changer for the OSC, and our ability to protect investors,” said Kelly Gorman, deputy director of enforcement for the OSC in Toronto. “We expect that it will result in real-time tips about complex securities law matters that would otherwise be difficult to detect, and these include cases involving insider trading, market manipulation, accounting and reporting and other disclosure violations.

“By offering high rewards up to $5 million, that will provide a powerful incentive for a greater number of whistleblowers to come forward,” she added.

With Canada and the United States reportedly close to an expanded tracking system that will closely monitor the cross-border movements of citizens, there are concerns the information will be used to slap on potentially heavy tax penalties, or cut benefits.

“Particularly for individuals who haven’t been filing with the U.S. to either claim closer connection status, or claim treaty benefits, this could become an issue. They’re a lot more visible than they have been in the past,” said Hugh Neilson, director of taxation services for KRP Group in Edmonton.

An unprecedented international collaboration on tax reform  that recently unveiled sweeping plans to crack down on aggressive tax planning by multinational companies has the potential to become the biggest shake-up in worldwide tax rules in nearly a century, according to tax professionals.

Endorsed by G20 finance ministers and leaders, the ambitious proposals by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) aim to close loopholes, increase transparency to assist tax authorities in risk assessments and restrict the use of tax havens to curb many international tax planning strategies.