Ottawa (ON) - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), through an audit process, has indicated that they may assess complimentary tickets given to employees by the Centre In The Square (CITS) (owned by the City of Kitchener, ON but with its own Board of Directors) as “taxable benefits".
Should CITS be unsuccessful in its current challenge to this review, there is potential that employees of all Canadian performing arts centre’s and other venues/festivals would also be taxed on tickets they are given to attend shows as part of their work duties, by their employers. Requiring staff to regularly attend a wide variety of shows is considered standard practice in the industry.
CAPACOA supports the efforts of the CITS and opposes the notion that "complimentary" tickets should be considered taxable benefits. We are seeking immediate input on this issue from our broader membership and community. CITS is considering its options in further defending its position, and a court challenge may be in the future. This serious action could require the presenting community to unite in a show of vocal and, where possible, financial support to help ensure a court case resolves in favour of presenters and venues.
If you have comments you would like to share please respond to CAPACOA
directly. While there may be ways around such a ruling should it come into play, our intention - and most immediate concern - is to challenge the suggestion that attending shows is a "benefit", rather than a core component of our work. The artistic and curatorial aspect of the work of presenters, and the need to experience live performances in order to develop expertise and other skills, is at the heart of this issue. The realities of presenting, and how presenters achieve their vision must be clarified - and then protected.
CAPACOA is deeply concerned about the far-reaching implications should the CRA be successful. We will keep you apprised of the situation as it evolves and urge you to evaluate and consider the potential impact of this for your own organization and staff.
Ms Erin Benjamin
(Canadian Arts Presenting Association/l’Association canadienne des organismes artistiques)
200—17 York Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 9J6