My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are written solely in my personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which I am affiliated. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humor/sarcasm. You've been warned.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The CRA and the PGA, Some Strange Rules

I recently read that Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack said the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) has decided that allowing the police to park at police stations is a taxable benefit. Mr. McCormack says the taxman is looking for three years back taxes and that could amount to “thousands of dollars” for each officer.

I have never understood CRA’s position on parking where a company has its own parking lot. You are driving to your place of employment to work, how is that a personal benefit?

The CRA’s position on parking is set forth in the following links:


In general, the CRA considers there to be a taxable benefit for parking whether the employer owns the parking lot or not. The most common exceptions are for scramble parking and parking provided for business reasons.

Business reasons relates to situations when an employee regularly uses his/her automobile to perform employment duties such as travelling off-site to meetings or service calls.

The CRA defines regularly as:
We consider "regularly" to be an average of three or more days per week. If the employee requires the use of a vehicle for business purposes less frequently, we will accept a pro-ration of the benefit. For example, if the employee uses a vehicle in the course of his or her duties 1 day per week, the value of the parking may be reduced by 20%, since the employee required a spot for business purposes 20% of the time.”

Employers often overlook the potential taxable benefit for parking which can result in a surprise income addition, and taxes payable, for their employees. Employers should review this issue with their advisors.

Stupid Golf Rules

As I get older, the injuries I ignored in my youth are coming back to haunt me. My knees now prevent me from playing basketball and my back keeps me from hockey. The one sport I seem to be able to handle physically is golf. I have a set game with my friends and we are all pretty good golfers (12-15 handicaps) and more importantly, we all have the same philosophy; we play golf for fun.

We play to be outdoors. We play for the challenge of the game. We play teams for lunch and we play to make fun of each other. We allow gimme’s and just take penalties from where we go out of bounds. We let one another move balls from divots.

Now I know anyone reading this who is a golf purist is offended by our lack of adherence to the rules and is already saying “You are not a 12 handicap if you play the way you do.” You know what, I agree, and our handicaps hurt us in any regulated tournament or club-like championship as they are understated due to the way we play. But we would rather play the way we play and we don’t care what our true handicaps really are. But, different strokes for different folks, and I understand those who are strict play-by-the-rules types, it is just not how we want to play the game as a recreational golfers.

After this year’s PGA when Dustin Johnston was penalized for grounding his club in a trap which did not look like a trap, some of golf’s archaic rules were revisited by many journalists and bloggers.

The following are some rules that just seem stupid in my opinion.

Balls in divots- You cannot take a free drop from a divot on a ball that lands in the fairway. How crazy? Someone else creates a divot and you hit a good shot and you are penalized by playing the ball from a large hole? How does this make sense when you get a free drop from ground under repair or a drain?

Padrig Harrington was penalized in a tournament when the wind blew his ball as he set up. He was penalized not because the ball moved, but because he had addressed the ball. How crazy is that? Mother Nature affected the ball, not the player.

Michelle Wie had a famous disqualification because she failed to sign her scorecard before leaving the scoring area. Everyone watching the tournament knows the score with all the electronic scorekeeping, so who cares when she signs?

You cannot fix a spike mark made on the green. Again, someone else created the impediment, but you suffer.

Golf is the most challenging game I have ever played and it can be enjoyed by playing strictly by the rules or using modified rules for weekend hackers.


The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.

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