After yesterday’s story in the Globe about Wayne Middaugh’s tax problems, there have been a lot of questions raised, mostly on curlingzone.com. Let me answer a few in brief here:
Middaugh didn’t claim any bonspiel winnings nor did he have the team run like a business in any formal way. As far as I know, like every curler, he just went along assuming bonspiel winnings would be tax free because the CRA would lose money on the deal with all the write offs. I don’t know of any curler who has ever claimed cashspiel earnings.
There is some speculation that someone went to the CRA and “squealed” on Middaugh which started this entire episode. That person, by the way, is not a curler and has nothing to do with curling. That is an unproven allegation and Middaugh doesn’t really know anything about that. It was information provided to me by a third party.
In the past, the CRA has said that is would only allow expenses to be claimed by teams that “had a legitimate chance at winning prize money.” So every Tom, Dick and Harry can’t enter a spiel and claim the expenses, according to the agency. I’m not sure how they’d make that distinction.
In a previous life, I used to work for the Ontario Lottery Corporation (now called the OLGC) and in the CRA, lottery winnings are not the same as bonspiel winnings because lottery winnings are earned by chance where as curling winnings are gained by skill.
No other curlers have been tagged, but it’s expected this could be a precedent-setting case, if rumours are true.
Wendy Kane from the WCT was contacted to comment on the story but she never returned my call. In my mind, the PA HAS to take up this case and go as far as possible with it or the cashspiel scene and the Grand Slams will change drastically.