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Taxation law

Influencers : be conscious of your tax obligations!

Apr 15th, 2021

By Frédéric Delisle

In a short publication dated April 13th, 2021, the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) reiterated its position regarding the gratuities received by social media influencers. The publication in question is available here.

As indicated in same, the CRA considers that certain influencers using social media platforms such as Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, etc., may have structured their activities to such an extent that these may represent a business endeavor rather than a simple hobby.  Accordingly, the various gifts, donations, perks, merchandise, sponsorship, etc. received by social media influencers may very well constitute a form of income. If that is the case, not only would there be income tax implications but there may very well also be GST and HST (and in Quebec QST) implications. On the other hand, there may also be some advantages, such as the possibility for social media influencers to deduct certain expenses incurred as part of their activities. Finally, and again as indicated by the CRA, it is possible to come forth and voluntarily rectify past failings to report income derived from such social media activities, notably via the CRA’s voluntary disclosure program.

As the business of social media influencers is relatively “new”, there may very well be many such influencers that are unaware of the tax implications of their activities.  As such, it would be advisable for such influencers to reach out to their tax advisors in order to review their obligations. Members of Spiegel Sohmer’s Tax Department are readily available for such reviews.