02/19/2012 :  NO TAX WRITE-OFF FOR CANADIAN PERSONAL GAMBLERS
 
Federal Court of Appeal confirms lower court ruling
 
A Toronto man who spent years fighting a decision by the taxman that he was not a professional gambler and therefore cannot claim tax write-offs on his losses, has hit another brick wall with a decision from the Federal Court of Appeal that the taxman is right.
 
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Giuseppe Tarascio claimed that he earned most of his income by gambling, submitting tax returns claiming losses and declaring winnings.
 
However Tarascio had a day job at Bell Canada and was not a full-time professional gambler, although gambling was his preferred method of earning.
 
For years he claimed winnings as income, and deducted his losses and expenses amounting to $40,933 in 2002 and $56,000 in 2003.
 
Then the unlucky gambler came into conflict with a formidable opponent – the Canada Revenue Agency – which disallowed all his deductions. Convinced he had a case; Tarascio took the issue to tax court, supported by detailed records, but lost.
 
His next stop was the Federal Court of Appeal, but despite his contention that his degree in mathematics, coupled with his experience in probability theory, gave him the expertise to register his gambling as a business, the news has been just as bleak there – pay-up, and spring for the court costs to boot.
 
The appeal court found that Tarascio had no "systematic method" for gambling and had spent no time practising his skills. His admission that, win or lose, it was the thrill of gambling that motivated him, did little to help his case.
 
A University of Western Ontario legal expert told CBC that the test of whether or not gambling losses are a legitimate writeoff depends on whether it’s a personal or commercial activity.
 
“That's the dividing line,” said Colin Campbell. “And in the case of gambling, the courts have generally found that gambling is predominately a personal activity.”