OTTAWA - If you're trying to hide a few bucks from the taxman, your best bet may be to head to the Far North.
And if you're doing anything remotely dodgy when it comes to taxes, the worst place to be could well be Manitoba.
Documents obtained by QMI Agency show neighbours and friends in Canada's most northern reaches are far more likely to protect you from the prying eyes of auditors with the Canada Revenue Agency than in any other part of the country.
While about 25,000 Canadians make a report to the CRA's National Informant Leads Program every year, in the last five years, not one single lead has come to Revenue Canada from anyone in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, or Nunavut.
In 2010 - the most recent year for which data was made available - there was just one call from a Nova Scotian, compared to more than 700 tips on tax cheats from Nova Scotians phoned in five years earlier.
But it's a very different story in Manitoba.
Canada Revenue Agency data, obtained by researcher Ken Rubin on behalf of QMI Agency through federal Access to Information laws, shows Manitobans are more likely - by a long shot - to let the taxman know if they suspect a friend or neighbour is trying to hide some money from Ottawa.
In 2009-2010, about 34 of every 10,000 Manitobans had provided information to the CRA on potential tax cheaters.
The actual numbers?
In 2009-2010, CRA received "leads" from 4,202 Manitobans. Manitoba's population at that time was about 1.2 million.
Next door in Saskatchewan, where Statistics Canada recorded just more than one million citizens in 2010, CRA received all of 31 leads that year.
Manitoba's propensity for snitching was far and above the highest ratio of any province in Canada.
Statistics Canada estimates Canada's underground economy is worth $40 billion a year. Revenue Canada's informant leads program is an important component of its investigative strategy to try to find untaxed income.
The CRA was unable to say Friday how much money the informant program is generating.
But the documents obtained by QMI Agency show the agency investigates about half of all tips it gets and when it does contact a suspected tax cheat, the suspect fesses up and sends in a cheque about 80% of the time.
Citizens in Ontario and B.C. were the next most likely to snitch to the taxman, but only about eight of every 10,000 residents of those provinces told the CRA of their suspicions.
Quebec's ratio was half that. Just four Quebecers in 10,000 told the CRA about a friend or neighbour who might be cheating on taxes.
And while CRA got absolutely bupkis from anyone in north of 60, it didn't get much, either, from Albertans. Just 91 leads came to the CRA from Albertans, which means fewer than one in 10,000 Albertans decided to rat out their neighbours over taxes.
As a cost-saving measure, the CRA recently closed regional informant leads program offices in Saint John, N.B., Monteregie-Rive-Sud, Que., Winnipeg, and in B.C.'s southern interior.
The CRA centralized its informat lead program functions in January at its St. Catharines, Ont., office.