Manitoba Finance’s Taxation Special Investigations Unit, along with members of the RCMP, the Ontario Ministry of Finance’s Compliance Branch and the Treaty Three Police Service, recently completed joint contraband tobacco enforcements at the Manitoba/Ontario provincial boundary.
As a result, 52 individuals face a variety of charges under The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act, The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act and the Criminal Code. In total, 311,930 contraband cigarettes and 7,600 grams of fine-cut tobacco were seized. Manitoba stood to lose $97,037 in tax revenue if these products had been sold.
Depending on the volume of each seizure, the individuals may face set fine penalties of $2,542 or fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment along with potential triple tax penalties. Combined, the expected penalties total $305,619.
In addition to the charges for contraband tobacco, two of the individuals face separate drug charges, three speeding tickets were issued, two tickets for driving without a valid driver’s license were issued and one ticket for driving an unregistered vehicle was issued.
The province urges anyone who has information on contraband tobacco to contact their local police department, call the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137, email email@example.com or call Manitoba Crime Stoppers (toll-free) at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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