What you need to know about Canada’s Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and golf

temp fix empty alt images for attachment

OAKVILLE, Ont. – As we enter into personal income tax season, Golf Canada would like to remind you of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. This tax credit was designed to support children’s participation in programs that contribute to their fitness by allowing parents to claim up to $500 for each child younger than 16 years of age on their income tax return for fees associated with eligible programs.

We have prepared this brief to help the Canadian golf industry and parents understand whether their junior golf programs qualify for this tax credit.

Eligible Programs

Contrary to some reports, there are no specific sports included or excluded. Instead, the tax credit is designed to fight childhood obesity and therefore will consider any supervised physical activity that promotes cardio-respiratory endurance. To be specific, the definition of an eligible program for the purposes of the tax credit is as follows:

An on-going, supervised program, suitable for children, in which substantially all of the activities undertaken include a significant amount of physical activity that contribute to cardio-respiratory endurance, plus one or more of:

Further, the programs should encourage children to strive toward at least 30 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity per session for children under 10, and 60 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity for children 10 and over.

Eligible programs must last at least eight weeks at a minimum of one session per week or, in the case of children’s camps, five consecutive days – provided in the latter case that more than 50 per cent of the program time is devoted to physical activity.

A child’s membership in a club, association or other organization for two months or more would also be considered participation in an eligible program if more than 50 per cent of the programs available as a result of membership are in the nature of an “eligible program”, or more than 50 per cent of the available time is devoted to activities in an “eligible program”.

So how does this translate to your junior golf programming?

Junior Golf Club Membership

A key component of an eligible program or membership is supervision. If your club has a membership category that allows a junior access to the golf course only under the supervision of an adult, this membership may qualify, as long as the other criteria such as frequency and level of physical exertion are met. A basic junior golf club membership without guaranteed supervision while the junior plays, does not qualify. We are reasonably confident that if the junior is walking and carrying his/her bag for at least nine holes, the cardio-respiratory requirement is met, but it is up to your club to determine if the supervision and frequency requirements are met. Clubs should consider the existence and frequency of course marshals, location of pro-shop with associated course visuals and other supervisory actions.

Competitions, Tournaments, Junior Tours

If a tournament is a minimum five days in length and the competitor plays all five days, the tournament may qualify as a “camp” under the definitions.

Again, if the competitor is playing a minimum of 18 holes per day, the tournament would meet the cardio-respiratory requirement. However, questions arise with supervision. The tournament must have qualified Rules officials and other adult supervisory staff out on the golf course to ensure a good level of supervision.

All CN Future Links Regional Championships should therefore qualify as a “camp” under the definitions, as long as the competitors also play in the practice round for a total of five consecutive days. The fee directly associated with each CN Future Link Championship should be eligible.

Further questions arise when a competitor is playing in events less than five consecutive days in length. We asked the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) if a series of two or three-day events played every week, to reach the minimum number of eight days at least once per week, such as a junior tour could qualify as a “program” under the definitions. Their response was not definitive. There should be consistency in supervision and organization. The events should all be run by the same organizers and must meet all other criteria. If the series of events does qualify for the tax credit, only the fees associated directly with the tournament days may be claimed. Annual fees for membership in a junior tour would not be eligible.

Junior Instructional Camps and Programs

The tax credit recognizes there is a developmental phase to learning a skill such as golf. However, the spirit of the tax credit is to encourage physical activity. CN Future Links camps which are a minimum of five consecutive days in length must include the minimum 30 or 60 minute vigorous physical activity, depending on age, each day to qualify for the tax credit. The instructional camps are by nature supervised, so this requirement is met, but the level and duration of exertion should be analyzed by organizers to ensure all criteria are met.

For supervised instructional summer programs that are spread out over a number of weeks, please note the minimum eight sessions at least once per week requirement, as well as the minimum physical activity requirement.

Receipting and Other Record-keeping

Clubs should ensure they provide parents with receipts for the eligible portion of the participation fee. Even though the parents will not be required to submit this receipt with their tax return, this receipt must be kept for six years and available if they are audited.

Because supervision is such an integral part of the tax credit criteria, camp/tournament/program organizers should keep record of the officials/instructors/supervisors involved in the event in question. Proof of supervision may be required at a later date.

Curriculum for all instructional camps and seasonal programs should also be kept or even shared with the parent should CRA require proof of the level of physical activity involved in each of these.

Please include the following information on the receipt:

Further Information:

Each club is responsible for assessing their programs, lessons and membership to determine eligibility for the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. Clubs should seek the assistance of qualified tax advisors or the CRA should they have questions about their particular programs, lessons and memberships.

Should you have questions directly related to your program, please contact the Canadian Revenue Agency or visit the webpages below:

Information for Organizations Providing Prescribed Programs of Physical Activity
Children’s Fitness Tax Credit Eligibility Checklist