How the CSU Plans to Pay $42,000 in Back Taxes

Interest from Student Space Fund Will Keep Union from Posting Budgetary Loss

Graphic Brandon Johnston

The Concordia Student Union will pay off its $42,000 in overdue taxes partially using a somewhat off-the-books bank account holding interest amassed from fees collected over the years for a new student centre, according to CSU VP Finance Scott Carr.

“I’ve never seen this account before, where did this $600,000 come from?” said Carr, recalling when a bank teller told him of the account’s existence when he first went to Scotiabank on CSU business at the beginning of his tenure as VP Finance.

The account, Carr continued, was opened by the CSU in 2011-2012 as a liquid funds account for interest generated off of the millions of dollars in the CSU’s Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund.

The fund currently collects a fee levy of $1.50 per credit from students, which generated $1,084,643 in 2012-2013 alone and is estimated to raise a similar amount this academic year, according to a consolidated CSU budget obtained by The Link.

Having the extra funds available will help the union avoid posting a deficit at the end of its fiscal year in May, Carr explained.

“We focused on taking it from other funds, surpluses that we had accumulated over years and using that money to pay back the taxes,” he said.

The interest-generated funds would also keep the union from crippling itself when repaying its unpaid taxes.

“At the time [when we decided to use funds from this account] we’re looking at the taxes maybe being in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Carr said.

“[By paying] our taxes through the normal surpluses, we would get into a very problematic situation where we were going to have to make some very administrative cuts and, to a certain extent, depending on how much the taxes are, potentially harm the operations of the union.

“Speaker series would have to be completely cut, all 101 [workshops] would have to be completely cut, student life would have to be completely cut.”

The CSU may also have to pay roughly $4,000 in penalties to the federal government for unknowingly not paying taxes on non-Canadian residents contracted to perform or speak at Concordia.

The union was told in January that the province would not be penalizing them for the error.