Paul L. Caron

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Man Tries to Pay Tax With 200,000 Pennies to Protest 'Skyrocketing' Taxes

Pennies Toronto Sun, Man Tries to Pay Tax With 200,000 Pennies:

A Quebec man, fed up with his skyrocketing property taxes, carted more than 200,000 pennies down to City Hall to pay his bill. But he was denied, and asked to simply cut a cheque. ... Under the Currency Act, nobody is obliged to accept more than 25 pennies as payment for any product or service. Normand Czepial, unfortunately, was 213,600 over the limit.

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And then there's this, too:

Melting down coins

11. (1) No person shall, except in accordance with a licence granted by the Minister, melt down, break up or use otherwise than as currency any coin that is current and legal tender in Canada.
Offence and punishment

(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) or any condition attached to a licence referred to in that subsection is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or to both, and, in addition to any fine or imprisonment imposed, the court may order that the articles by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed be forfeited to Her Majesty.

Posted by: ThePosterChild | Jul 18, 2010 8:17:48 PM

The Currency Act actually defines what can be considered "legal tender." You should not try to statutorily interpret what a journalist reports as being "the law." The following excerpt is from the Currency Act, (R.S., 1985, c. C-52), available online at:

Legal tender

8. (1) Subject to this section, a tender of payment of money is a legal tender if it is made
(a) in coins that are current under section 7; and
(b) in notes issued by the Bank of Canada pursuant to the Bank of Canada Act intended for circulation in Canada.

(2) A payment in coins referred to in subsection (1) is a legal tender for no more than the following amounts for the following denominations of coins:
(a) forty dollars if the denomination is two dollars or greater but does not exceed ten dollars;
(b) twenty-five dollars if the denomination is one dollar;
(c) ten dollars if the denomination is ten cents or greater but less than one dollar;
(d) five dollars if the denomination is five cents; and
(e) twenty-five cents if the denomination is one cent.
Coins of denominations greater than ten dollars

Posted by: ThePosterChild | Jul 18, 2010 8:14:45 PM

He should just melt the pennies, they are worth more that way, then pay the taxes with the profit.


Posted by: Shepherd | Jul 18, 2010 7:04:36 PM

Right on, Dr. K! I was about to say the same thing. Taxes are not 'goods' and while some taxes (ostensibly)pay for the provision of services, they are not a service in and of themselves.

Posted by: bLaKouT | Jul 18, 2010 2:56:09 PM

I agree that (without looking at it) this law was likely not intended for the payment of taxes - if they wanted to include taxes, they should have said so. Having said that, I think a decent argument could be made that, while taxes are not "products or services," they are payment for the many public services you receive. It's a stretch (and one I don't necessarily agree with), but not so far away as some above posters are implying. It's not as though the money I had to a cashier at the grocery store is itself a produce or service. What I receive in return is, however.

Posted by: ewn | Jul 18, 2010 12:57:05 PM

Give them 200,000 checks for a penny each! And remember, he's not GIVING them 200,000 pennies, he's making PAYMENT on his property taxes and I'm sure that there's nothing in the tax law that says that payment must be in a specified form. Also, I don't think that taxes qualify as either a product or a service... possibly a "penalty" if nothing else!

Posted by: Tom Jones | Jul 18, 2010 9:14:18 AM

Since when are taxes a "product or service"?

Posted by: William Jockusch | Jul 18, 2010 9:06:45 AM

So use nickles instead. Bet there's no law on that.

Posted by: Dr. K | Jul 18, 2010 3:10:17 AM