Are you self-employed? Know your tax obligations
Being self-employed has a lot of benefits, but it can also have some challenges. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants to help you fulfill your tax obligations so you have one less thing to worry about.
Remember: You and your spouse or common-law partner have until midnight on June 15, 2020, to each file a 2019 income tax and benefit return.
You must pay any balance outstanding by April 30, 2020. The CRA may charge you a late-filing penalty if you owe tax and your return is received after the filing due date. You may also be charged interest if you have a balance owing and your payment is made after the April 30, 2020 balance due date.
There are many ways to make a payment:
- using your financial institution’s telephone or online banking service
- using the CRA’s pre-authorized debit service offered through My Account and MyCRA, which lets you:
- set up a payment to the CRA from an account on a pre-set date
- pay an overdue amount or make instalment payments
- through the CRA’s My Payment service, which lets you make payments online. You can use this service if you have Visa® Debit, Debit MasterCard® or Interac® Online at a participating financial institution
- by credit card, PayPal or Interac e-Transfer through a third-party service provider
- in person at any Canada Post outlet, using cash or a debit card, along with a QR code that you can generate using My Account or MyCRA
- in person at a Canadian financial institution with a remittance voucher
Need help understanding your taxes?
The CRA offers a free in-person Liaison Officer service to help small businesses, self‑employed individuals, and individuals with rental income understand their tax obligations.
During an in-person visit, a Liaison Officer will:
- answer your tax-related questions
- discuss common tax errors and financial benchmarks
- provide information on various CRA tools and services
- offer to review your books and records, and provide recommendations to strengthen your bookkeeping system
For more information or to request this service, go to canada.ca/cra-liaison-officer.
Keep in mind:
- You have to report your income from any business you run yourself or with a partner
- In Canada, a self-employed individual must register for GST/HST once their business income exceeds $30,000 in a single calendar quarter or over the last four consecutive calendar quarters
- Keep thorough records if you own a business or engage in commercial activities. They must have enough information so you can figure out the tax you owe and support any deduction or credit you claim. They also must be supported by original documents. Electronic documents are also acceptable
- Keep supporting documents and all required records for six years from the later of:
- The end of the tax year to which they relate; or
- The date the return was filed (if you did not file your return on time).
- Keep your documents even if you don’t have to attach certain supporting documents to your return or you are filing online, in case the CRA reviews your return. The CRA may ask you to prove your claims for deductions or credits with documents like cancelled cheques or bank statements
- You might have to pay tax by instalments if you earn income that has no tax withheld or does not have enough tax withheld during the year. This may happen if you have rental, investment, or self-employment income, if you receive certain pension payments, or if you have income from more than one job
For more information, go to canada.ca/taxes-self-employed.
For general inquiries:
Canada Revenue Agency
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