Former Liberal MP and BC Liberal candidate Sukh Dhaliwal and his wife have pleaded guilty for failing to file tax returns for their consulting company.
Dhaliwal pleaded guilty on Tuesday in BC provincial court in Surrey to three charges of failing to comply with the Income Tax Act.
He was assessed the minimum fine for each charge, $1,000, for a total of $3,000. Dhaliwal paid the fine on Tuesday. He was initially facing six charges.
On Monday, Roni Dhaliwal pleaded guilty for five charges of failing to comply with the Income Tax Act. She was also fined $1,000 for each charge — a total of $5,000 — and paid the fine. She was initially facing 14 charges.
“Basically this is about taking responsibility, correcting the wrong and moving forward,” Sukh Dhaliwal said outside court on Tuesday. “We did the right thing. I’m glad it’s over and we can move forward.”
The maximum penalty for failing to file a tax return is $25,000 and one year in jail.
According to court documents, it was alleged Dhaliwal “did unlawfully direct, authorise, assent to acquiesce in or participate in” the failure of Genco Consultants Inc. — for which Dhaliwal is listed as president and director and his wife as secretary — to file a completed corporate income tax return on Form T2 for the taxation years 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
A notice of requirement was served personally on Dhaliwal on August 24, 2011, however tax returns were not filed by the 120-day deadline. Charges were sworn in October 2012.
When asked about the allegations in February 2013, Dhaliwal responded via text message that he had little to do with the day-to-day operations of Genco.
At sentencing, Dhaliwal’s lawyer Greg DelBigio said Genco’s affairs were intertwined with those of other companies and Dhaliwal depended on others to provide the documentation so that the returns could be filed as requested by the Canada Revenue Agency.
However, due to “a variety of circumstances” the returns were not filed.
“It was a complicated and regretful situation,” DelBigio said.
The tax returns have since been filed, however the company is listed as “not in good standing” with BC Registry Services because it has failed to file an annual report since November 2012.
Dhaliwal was the Liberal MP for Newton-North Delta from 2006 to 2011, when he lost to the NDP’s Jinny Sims.
Dhaliwal had intended to run for the BC Liberals in the May 2013 election in the riding of Surrey-Panorama, however he dropped out a few days after the tax charges came to light. Dhaliwal, who was considered a star candidate for Team Christy Clark in the south Asian community, said he didn’t want the charges to be a distraction to the Liberals heading into the election. Surrey city Coun Marvin Hunt ended up winning for the Liberals.