City office worker James Frost was understandably puzzled when the taxman said he owes $463.54 because his City Hall parking pass has been deemed a taxable benefit.

“I think it’s kind of unfair since I don’t have a car, never have had a car and never will have a car,” said Frost, who lives downtown and walks or takes the TTC to work.

Frost is among more than 1,700 city employees facing bills for back taxes after a Canada Revenue Agency audit of the City of Toronto declared access to a parking spot — whether workers use it or not — a taxable benefit.

Frost, whose job is to ensure best practices are followed in providing services to social assistance recipients, might be getting off lightly. His bill for the 2007 tax year is lower than the $4,000 to $6,000 total tabs being handed to many others — including some who didn’t even know they had parking privileges — for the 2006 and 2007 tax years.

“It’s grossly unfair to the employees,” said Richard Majkot, executive director of the City of Toronto Administrative, Professional, Supervisory Association, which represents Frost and another 900 of the 1,764 workers facing bills.

“They’re certainly being disadvantaged through no fault of their own.”

Affected unions are talking to the city about options to fight Ottawa, including a class-action suit, he said.
The workers being targeted have passes for lots at City Hall, Metro Hall, the North York and Scarborough civic centres and a building at 111 Wellesley St. Employees with proof they need to use their cars for work at least three times per week are being let off the hook.

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