News Release Archive

  A bill consolidating and modernizing major Nova Scotia tax
  laws, and containing severe new penalties for breaking those
  laws to avoid taxes, was introduced in the legislature
  Finance Minister Bernie Boudreau introduced the Revenue Act,
  a consolidation of three existing tax laws. The bill
  simplifies and streamlines administration of health
  services, tobacco and fuel taxes.
  It also contains hefty penalties for tax evasion, as part of
  what the minister called a major assault on the underground
  "People who deal in the underground economy are not just
  cheating the government. They are cheating their neighbours
  who pay their fair share. They are cheating the legitimate
  businesses of Nova Scotia, who must try to compete on an
  uneven playing field."
  Mr. Boudreau said the government estimates that $83 million
  a year in tax revenue is lost "under the table." If the
  government could recover those taxes, he said, it could
  reduce personal income tax by up to 10 per cent, or drop the
  provincial sales tax to 10 per cent or lower.
  To deter tax cheaters, the bill will increase fines for
  contravention of Health Services Tax law to a maximum of
  $20,000 from the current maximum of $1,000. Contravention of
  the fuel tax laws will bring fines of up to $10,000 -double
  the current maximum. And, contravention of the tobacco tax
  law will carry fines of $10,000 minimum, up to a $100,000
  maximum. Default on these fines will result in jail terms
  ranging from six months to a year.
  To combat tax evasion in an area of chronic abuse -the
  cigarette trade -the government is moving the sales tax from
  the retail level to the wholesale level. Collecting the tax
  at wholesale will make it significantly more difficult to
  evade the tax, the minister said, because it will be paid
  "up front".
  "This change will level the playing field for the majority
  - those legitimate retailers who collect and remit all taxes
  on the tobacco they sell."
  Mr. Boudreau said the Revenue Act is about "efficient,
  effective and fair taxation." It standardizes procedures,
  making it easier on the businesses that collect taxes on the
  government's behalf.
  Revision was overdue, he said. Some of the legislation has
  not undergone comprehensive review in more than 30 years,
  and "certainly times and technology have changed. The new
  bill reflects modern business techniques and recent
  technological advances."
  Mr. Boudreau acknowledged and thanked the Nova Scotia
  business community for assistance in drafting the improved
  "It was through the insight and practical knowledge of
  business that we arrived at a bill that makes tax law in
  Nova Scotia more understandable and user-friendly for the
  Nova Scotian businesspeople who collect our taxes," he said.
  Contact: Jim Vibert  902-424-4886
  trp                      Nov. 02, 1995