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March 11, 2009
For immediate release
Three Convicted under Harsher Tobacco Tax Act, Ordered to Pay Nearly Half a Million Dollars in Fines
The convictions come less than a year after a new Tobacco Tax Act was proclaimed to help combat the illicit tobacco trade. This new Act, which was proclaimed on March 15, 2008, provides much harsher penalties for anyone involved in selling, buying or possessing illegal tobacco.
“These fines send out a clear message; if you are caught importing or selling illegal tobacco in this province, you will be prosecuted and will pay a hefty price,” said Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan. “This new legislation is giving law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on the illicit tobacco trade.”
Two Island men were each ordered to pay $233,894 for evaded tobacco taxes and $200 for the offence itself. Another was ordered to pay $2,594 for evaded tobacco taxes and $200 for the offence itself.
“The illicit tobacco trade prevents us from collecting tax dollars that are used to pay for important programs and services for all Islanders,” said Provincial Tax Commissioner Beth Gaudet. “I am very pleased to see the new legislation making a real difference in the fight against illegal tobacco.”
The Tobacco Tax Act gives RCMP and municipal police officers the authority to enforce the Act, sets out various offences relating to the sale, purchase, possession, marking and transportation of tobacco and establishes harsh penalties to those committing such offences.
Punishment includes fines of up to $10,000 for a first offence, $50,000 for a second offence and up to $100,000 for a third offence, various terms of imprisonment and an additional fine equal to five times the tax due if it had been purchased by a consumer liable to pay the tax. It also provides for a term of imprisonment for anyone who defaults in the payment of a fine.
For the complete text of the Tobacco Tax Act, visit our website www.taxandland.pe.ca.