Zappers OK in B.C. but Using Them Isn’t

A Richmond, British Columbia firm marketed an interesting computer program. As I noted when I first wrote about this (in 2008):

Bradley Alvarez of the Canada Revenue Agency told The Province that, “Businesses are suspected of having hidden thousands of transactions and millions of dollars in sales across Canada.” The software, from InfoSpec Systems in Richmond, BC, will save an owner taxes. The RCMP noted in its application for a search warrant that an InfoSpec spokesman allegedly said that the software can be used for “deleting cash sales.” Additionally, the software vendor claimed that you can take the cash and “pay kitchen staff.” There’s no reason to stop at one felony when you can commit two, eh?

Well, the software vendor won a victory at the B.C. Court of Appeal. As the Vancouver Sun reported:

Four years after a Richmond computer company was charged and a year after it was convicted of tax fraud, the province’s highest bench has ordered the company acquitted…

“It is noteworthy that the law does not prohibit the making, possession, or sale of a zapper,” Justice Frankel said, even though a number of criminal code provisions target and restrict other instruments of crime used, for instance, in counterfeiting or falsifying credit cards.

“I do not accept the Crown’s submission that InfoSpec ‘engaged in a course of dealings that was by its very nature dishonest.’ InfoSpec participated in commercial transactions involving the sale of a computer program that is not prohibited by law; the restaurants got what they paid for. Whatever reasonable people might think about the propriety of such a sale, I am unable to say they would consider the vendor to have acted dishonestly.”

However, using the software to evade taxes was and still is a crime in Canada. It is likely that the Canada Revenue Agency will appeal this decision to the Canadian Supreme Court.

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