The PEIGA, in its role as the Official Sport Governing Body for golf, as recognized by all levels of government, was contacted earlier this week by Mr. Peter Stoffer, the NDP Member of Parliament from Sackville, Nova Scotia, who was going to be on the Island meeting with employees of Veteran’s Affairs, asking if we could meet with him to discuss the current tax situation concerning golf not being allowable as a deductible entertainment expense for companies.
Our President, Wayne Levy along with Stephen Dowling the GM of Belvedere Golf Club met with him on Friday afternoon and had an excellent discussion on all aspects of the difficulties being faced by the golf industry. Mt. Stoffer provided us details on, as well as a copy of, a private members bill drafted by Randall Garrison, an MP from British Columbia, proposing an amendment to the Income Tax Act that will allow golf related expenses to be deducted as a business expense. Peter advised the Bill, which has passed first reading, is receiving widespread support and he is hopeful it will be passed. Peter is an avid golfer and certainly understands that more business can be conducted in the golf environment than at a noisy hockey or baseball game. He is also aware of the significant contribution that golf tournaments (Texas scrambles etc.) make to charities which, in his view, makes them even more valid as a business entertainment deduction.
We had also received recent advices from the NSGA concerning Canadian Revenue Agency audits carried out at both the Chester and Northumberland courses where their non-profit tax status has been brought into serious doubt. Wayne took advantage of the opportunity to raise this issue with Peter and explain the impact it would have on the ability of such clubs to remain viable. Peter was not aware of the CRA’s current position which questions if a club generates income from the sale of green fees, food and beverage etc. if they can actually be considered and taxed as a Non- Profit Corporation. He had not been informed the CRA was carrying out audits on golf courses that are incorporated as NPO’s and, being a knowledgeable golfer, certainly understands that clubs like these have to rely on revenue such as green fees and bar income to cover operating expenses to break even and knows these are an integral part of running a golf course.
We provided Mr. Stoffer with the information concerning the audits that the NSGA had provided us and asked him to contact the Nova Scotia Golf Association directly as they are in a better position to provide more details than we could.
Overall we had what we consider to be a very productive discussion with him and he clearly understands and appreciates the collective golf industry in Atlantic Canada is a major employer, a strong economic contributor and a significant asset in attracting tourists to Atlantic Canada. He also understands how fragile the state of the golf industry actually is, the impact such decisions can have on it, and appears to be a strong supporter for it.