The Canadian Government Sued Uber To Force It To Open Its Books

The government says it tried to audit the ridesharing company but Uber stonewalled for six months.

1. The Canada Revenue Agency is fighting to audit Uber, BuzzFeed Canada has learned, and the CRA won’t say whether thousands of Uber drivers across Canada could also be affected.

Graeme Roy / The Canadian Press

The government tried to launch an income tax audit of the rideshare company last February.

But over the ensuing six months, Uber provided no response or only partial responses to 16 of 29 requests to see the company’s books, the CRA claims in a Federal Court filing.

Uber says this was a routine audit and that it has fully cooperated with the authorities.

The government says it gave Uber several deadline extensions. Finally, in October of last year the CRA went to court to force Uber to open up its books.

“The Minister sought and continues to seek the respondent’s books, records and documents in order to determine whether (Uber) has complied with its duties and obligations under the Income Tax Act and properly computed and reported taxable income,” reads the filing.

The government says Uber offered “various explanations” for not granting access to its books.

Uber says that the CRA’s deadline actually fell on October 16, the same day the government’s court action was filed. Uber says it is cooperating with the audit and made its response on that date.

The CRA dropped its legal action 11 days after filing it.

2. A CRA spokesman would not say whether individual drivers could be swept up in the audit. As of last September there were 16,000 Uber drivers in Toronto alone, the company claimed.

Graeme Roy / The Canadian Press

The CRA said it does not comment on ongoing or possible audits.

As reported by Fortune, last May Uber set up a new entity in the Netherlands called Uber International. It then restructured its business so that most of its revenue was shielded from United States taxes.

Uber has also gotten into a long series of regulatory battles in jurisdictions across North America.

BuzzFeed Canada reached out to Uber for comment. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

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Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Paul McLeod at paul.mcleod@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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