Tax Court of Canada

Customs and Excise

Not open to court to make exceptions to statutory provisions on grounds of fairness

Appellant was approached during H1N1 pandemic to manufacture sanitizing gels. Due to urgency of situation, it started manufacturing sanitizing gels while simultaneously working to complete formulation submission for Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) approval. Appellant acknowledged it did not comply with s. 73 of Excise Act (Can.). Minister assessed excise duty payable on packaged spirits under act. Appellant requested court to consider reducing amount of duty assessed, given unintentional nature of offence. Appeal dismissed. Even though appellant had received approval under Natural Health Products Regulations (Can.), at time it manufactured gels, act does not give any exemption on that basis. Court did not have authority to provide relief based on fairness. There was no provision in act that granted judiciary authority to deviate from strict application of its provisions. It was not open to court to make exceptions to statutory provisions on grounds of fairness or equity. Appellant was only assessed duty payable on alcohol and could have faced a harsher situation had Minister imposed penalty. Court was not convinced that appellant was not negligent in failing to comply with act.

International  Custom Pak Inc. v. R. (Feb. 11, 2014, T.C.C. [Informal Procedure], Lucie Lamarre J., File No. 2013-1768(EA)I) 237 A.C.W.S. (3d) 657.

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