B.C. seizing contraband tobacco

Millions of dollars in tax revenue would be lost with contraband tobacco sales, Ministry of Finance says

The provincial government is cracking down on contraband tobacco sales that are cutting into the B.C. tax revenue stream.

In a press release this week, the Ministry of Finance announced that it had seized more than 5.75 million grams of contraband tobacco destined for Vancouver streets over fiscal year 2018-19.

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Working with municipal police forces, the RCMP, Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian Border Services Agency and other law enforcement agencies to prevent, the government is endeavouring to ensure these products don’t get into the wrong hands.

Among the programs to stop the sale of illegal tobacco, the government has set up a tip line and has inspectors goes into stores to prevent the sale of contraband smokes.

According to provincial estimates, the estimated tax loss for the total seizure would have been $2.4 million, including:

* $1.58 million in tobacco taxes;

* $186,898 in GST; and

* $685,874 in federal excise duty.

To anonymously report the illegal sale and distribution of contraband tobacco, contact: 1-877 977-0858 or email IUnit@gov.bc.ca. Called can also contact B.C. Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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