Farming Income and the AgriStability and AgriInvest Programs Harmonized Guide 2018 - Chapter 1 – General information

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Farming income

Farming income includes income you earned from the following activities:

  •   soil tilling
  •   livestock raising or showing
  •   racehorse maintenance
  •   poultry raising
  •   dairy farming
  •   fur farming
  •   tree farming
  •   fruit growing
  •   beekeeping
  •   cultivating crops in water or hydroponics
  •   Christmas tree growing
  •   operating a wild game reserve
  •   operating a chicken hatchery
  •   operating a feedlot

In certain circumstances, you may also earn farming income from:

  •   raising fish
  •   market gardening
  •   operating a nursery or greenhouse
  •   operating a maple sugar bush (includes the activity of maple sap transformation into maple products if this activity is considered incidental to the basic activities of a maple sugar bush, such as the extraction and the collection of maple sap, which are farming activities)

Generally, livestock are domestic animals bred, raised, or kept on a farm or ranch, normally in an agricultural setting, for commercial profit. They may also be used in the production of commodities such as food, fiber, and labour. For more information, see Interpretation Bulletin IT-427R, Livestock of Farmers.

The raising or breeding of animals, fish, insects or any other living thing, to be sold as pets is not a farming activity. It is considered a business activity and must be reported as business income on form T2125, Statement of Business or Professional Activities.

Generally, farming income does not include income you earned from working as an employee in a farming business, from trapping or from sharecropping. For more information on sharecropping arrangements, see Income Tax Folio S4-F11-C1, Meaning of Farming and Farming Business. For partnerships or joint ventures, see Income Tax Folio S4-F16-C1, What is a Partnership?

Note

Income earned from the following is not allowable for AgriStability or AgriInvest even if it may be considered farming income for income tax purposes:

  • aquaculture
  • trees and seedlings sold for use in reforestation
  • wood sales
  • peat moss
  • wild game reserves
  • cannabis (except for industrial hemp)

For more information on how to report income earned from non-allowable commodities, see Income.

Note

Sales and purchases of supply managed commodities are not allowable for AgriInvest.

Reporting income and penalties

Include all your income when you calculate it for tax purposes. If you fail to report all your income in this year or in the last three years, you may be subject to a penalty of 10% of the amount you failed to report, after your first omission.

A different penalty may apply if you knowingly, or under circumstances amounting to gross negligence, participate in the making of a false statement or omission in your income tax return. In such a case, the penalty is 50% of the tax related to the omission or false statement (minimum $100).

For more information about penalties, go to Penalty for failure to file an information return by the due date.

When you must start reporting income and can start deducting expenses

You must start reporting your income and can start deducting your expenses when your business starts. We look at each case on its own merits. Generally, we consider your business to have started whenever you begin some significant activity that is a regular part of the business, or that is necessary to get the business going.

Suppose you do research on how to start a business in the hope of going into a business of some kind. We would not consider that as a significant activity that is a regular part of the business. So we would not consider your business to have begun at the time you started doing research. In that case, you cannot deduct any of the costs you have incurred for research.

Suppose you decide to buy enough goods for resale or equipment to start your business. We would consider this to be the starting point of your business. You can usually deduct all the expenses you incur for the business from that point on to earn income. You could still deduct the expenses even if, despite all your efforts, your business ended.

For more information about the start of a business, see Interpretation Bulletin IT-364, Commencement of Business Operations.

Statistics Canada is allowed by law to get business information collected by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Statistics Canada can share the data with provincial statistical agencies to use for research and analysis purposes only. The data is related to business activities carried on in their respective province.

How to report your farming income

You can earn farming income as a self-employed farmer or as a partner of a farm partnership, or both. Most of the rules that apply to self-employed farmers also apply to partners. However, if you are a partner, you should see Reporting partnership income.

Fiscal period

Report your farming income based on a fiscal period. A fiscal period is the time between the day your farming business starts and the day it ends its business year. For an existing business, the fiscal period is usually 12 months. A fiscal period cannot be longer than 12 months. However, it can be shorter than 12 months in some cases, such as when a new business starts or when a business stops.

Self-employed individuals generally have to use a December 31 year-end. If you are an eligible individual, you may be able to use another method of reporting business income that allows you to have a fiscal period that does not end on December 31. If your fiscal year-end is not December 31, see form T1139, Reconciliation of 2018 Business Income for Tax Purposes, to calculate the amount of business income to report on your 2018 income tax return.

If you filed Form T1139 with your 2017 income tax return, generally you have to file one again for 2018.

Reporting methods

You can report your farming income using the cash method or the accrual method of accounting.

Cash method

Note 

The cash method of accounting is incompatible with GST/HST/QST filing requirements. If you are a farmer with a GST account or are conducting other business activities, you cannot use the cash method.

When you use the cash method you must:

  • report income in the fiscal period you receive it
  • deduct expenses in the fiscal period you pay them

For special rules, see Prepaid expenses.

If you use the cash method and receive a post-dated cheque as security for a debt, include the amount in income when the cheque is payable.

If you receive a post-dated cheque as an absolute payment for a debt and the cheque is payable before the debt is due, include the amount in your income on one of the following dates, whichever is earlier:

  • the date the debt is payable
  • the date you cash or deposit the cheque

Note

The post-dated cheque rules apply to income producing transactions, such as the sale of grain. They do not apply to transactions involving capital property, such as the sale of a tractor.

Only farmers, fishers, and self-employed commission agents can use the cash method. All other business income must be reported using the accrual method.

When you use the cash method in a farming business, do not include inventory when you calculate your income. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule.

For more information on the cash method for farming income and the exceptions, see Income Tax Folio S4-F11-C1, Meaning of Farming and Farming Business.

For more information, see line 9941 – Optional inventory adjustment – current year and line 9942 – Mandatory inventory adjustment – current year.

Accrual method

When you use the accrual method you must:

  • report income in the fiscal period you earn it, no matter when you receive it
  • deduct expenses in the fiscal period you incur them, whether or not you pay them in that period

Incur usually means you either paid or will have to pay the expense.

For special rules, see Prepaid expenses.

When you calculate your income using the accrual method, the value of all inventories, such as livestock, crops, feed, and fertilizer will form part of the calculation. Make a list of your inventory and count it at the end of your fiscal period. Keep this list as part of your business records.

You can use one of the following methods to value your inventory:

  • Value all inventory at its fair market value (FMV). Use either the price you would pay to replace an item or the amount you would get if you sold an item.
  • Value individual items at cost or FMV, whichever is less. You can value items by group when you cannot easily tell one item from another. Cost is the price you incur for an item, plus any expenses to get it to your business location and put in a condition of use for your business.
  • Value livestock according to the unit price base. For this method, complete form T2034, Election to Establish Inventory Unit Prices for Animals.

Use the same method you used in past years to value your inventory. The value of your inventory at the start of your 2018 fiscal period is the same as the value at the end of your 2017 fiscal period. In your first year operating a farming business, you will not have an opening inventory at the start of your fiscal period.

For more information on inventories, see Interpretation Bulletin IT-473R, Inventory Valuation.

Note

If you use the accrual method to calculate your farming income, calculate your cost of goods sold on a separate piece of paper.

Changing your method of reporting income

If you decide to change your method of reporting income from the accrual method to the accrual method, simply use the cash method when you file your next income tax return. Make sure you include a statement that shows each adjustment made to your income and expenses because of the difference in methods.

If you decide to change from the cash method to the accrual method:

  • get permission from your tax services office
  • ask for this change in writing before the date you have to file your income tax return
  • explain why you want to change methods in your letter

The cash and accrual methods are different. The first time you file your income tax return using the accrual method, make sure you include a statement that shows each adjustment made to your income and expenses.

For information on how to report income and expenses for both the AgriStability and AgriInvest programs, and for tax purposes, see Method of accounting.

Business records

You are required by law to keep records of all your transactions to be able to support your income and expense claims. A record is defined to include; an account, an agreement, a book, a chart or table, a diagram, a form, an image, an invoice, a letter, a map, a memorandum, a plan, a return, a statement, a telegram, a voucher, and any other thing containing information, whether in writing or in any other form.

Keep a record of your daily income and expenses. We do not issue record books nor suggest any type of book or set of books. There are many record books and bookkeeping systems available; you can use a book that has columns and separate pages for income and expenses.

Keep your duplicate deposit slips, bank statements, and cancelled cheques. Keep separate records for each business you run. If you want to keep computerized records, make sure they are clear and easy to read.

Note

Do not send your records with your income tax return. However, do keep them in case we ask to see them at a later date.

Benefits of keeping complete and organized records

You can benefit from keeping complete and organized records. For example:

  • When you earn income from many places, good records help you identify the source of income. If you keep proper records, you may be able to prove that some income is not from your business, or that it is not taxable.
  • Keeping good records will remind you of expenses you can deduct when it is time to do your income tax return.
  • Good records will keep you better informed about the past and present financial position of your business.
  • Good records can help you budget, spot trends in your business, and get loans from banks and other lenders.
  • Good records can prevent problems you may run into if we audit your income tax returns.

Consequences of not keeping adequate records

If you do not keep the necessary information and you do not have any other proof, we may have to determine your income using other methods.

We may also disallow expenses you deducted if you are unable to support them.

There are penalties for not keeping adequate records, for not giving the CRA access to your records when requested, and for not giving information to CRA officials when asked.

Income records

Keep track of the gross income your farming business earns. Gross income is your total income before you deduct expenses. Your income records should show the date, amount, and source of the income. Record the income whether you received cash, property, or services. Support all income entries with original documents.

Original documents include:

  • sales invoices
  • cash register tapes
  • receipts
  • cash purchase tickets from the sale of grain
  • cheque stubs from marketing boards
  • bank deposit slips
  • fee statements
  • contracts

Expense records

Always get receipts or other vouchers when you buy something for your business. The receipts have to show all of the following:

  • the date of the purchase
  • the name and address of the seller or supplier
  • the name and address of the buyer
  • a full description of the goods or services
  • the vendor's business number if they are a GST/HST registrant

You were asking?

Q. What should I do if there is no description on a receipt?

A. When you buy something, make sure the seller describes the item. However, sometimes there is no description on the receipt, as with a cash register tape. In this case, you should write what the item is on the receipt or in your expense records.

Q. What should I do if a supplier does not want to give me a receipt?

A. When you buy something, make sure you get a receipt. Suppliers who are GST/HST registrants are required to provide receipts. Farmers must obtain documentation to support the transactions they enter in their books and records. Your transactions may be denied if you do not have the proper documentation to support your purchases. For more information, see guide RC4022, General Information for GST/HST Registrants.

Keep a record of the properties you bought and sold. This record should show who sold you the property, the cost, and the date you bought it. This information will help you calculate your capital cost allowance (CCA) and other amounts. Chapter 5 explains how to calculate CCA.

If you sell or trade a property, show the date you sold or traded it and the amount of the payment or credit from the sale or trade-in.

Example

Example
Date Particulars Cheque No. Bank GST
(5%)
Purchases Legal & Acct. Adv. Permit Repairs Capital items
July 1 XYZ Radio 407 367.50 17.50     350.00      
July 1 Smith Hardware 408 26.95 1.28         25.67  
July 2 City of Ottawa
409 157.50 7.50       150.00    
July 3 Andy's Accounting
410 262.50 12.50   250.00        
July 5 Wholesale Supply Inc.
411 1,836.60 87.46 1749.14          
July 5 Ed's Used Cars 412 1,575.00 75.00           1,500.00

For more information on how to keep your business records, the time limits, and to learn more about the benefits of keeping them complete and organized, go to Keeping records.

Instalment payment

As a self-employed farmer, you may have to pay an instalment payment. In most cases, we will send you an instalment reminder showing an instalment amount we have calculated for you.

You can view your instalment reminders using one of the following:

If you earn farming income, your instalment payment is due December 31.

There are different methods you can use to calculate instalment payments. For example, you can use the Instalment payment calculator service at My Business Account to calculate them and view their due dates.

Go to one of the following:

You may have to pay interest and a penalty if you do not pay the full instalment amount owed on time.

For more information on instalment payments or instalment interest charges, go to Paying your income tax by instalments.

Note

If this date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or statutory holiday, you have until the next business day to make your instalment payments.

Dates to remember

February 28, 2019 – If you have employees, file your 2018 T4 Summary and T4A Summary. Also, give your employees their copies of the T4 and T4A slips.

March 31, 2019 – Most farm partnerships with individuals as partners are required to file a partnership information return. However, there are exceptions, see guide T4068, Guide for the Partnership Information Return (T5013 Forms).

April 30, 2019 – Pay any balance owing for 2018. Also, file your 2018 income tax return, if the expenditures of your business are mainly the cost or the capital cost of tax shelter investments.

June 15, 2019 – File your 2018 income tax return if you have self-employed farming income, or if you are the spouse or common-law partner of someone who does, unless your business expenditures are mainly the cost or the capital cost of tax shelter investments. Remember to pay any balance owing due April 30, 2019, to avoid interest charges.

September 30, 2019 – Initial (non-penalty) deadline to send your Harmonized AgriStability and AgriInvest form to the Winnipeg Tax Centre. For more information, see Important information for AgriStability and AgriInvest.

December 31, 2019 – Pay your instalment payment if you meet the following conditions:

  • your main source of income in 2019 is self-employment income from farming
  • your net tax owing is more than $3,000 in each of 2017, 2018, and 2019 ($1,800 if you live in Quebec on December 31 for any of those years)

For more information on paying your income tax by instalments, go to Paying your income tax by instalments.

Final deadline (with penalty) to send your Harmonized AgriStability and AgriInvest form to the Winnipeg Tax Centre. For more information, see Important information for AgriStability and AgriInvest.

You must file your 2018 tax return reporting farming income (loss) to CRA by December 31, 2019 to be eligible for the 2018 AgriStability and AgriInvest program benefits.

Important information for AgriStability and AgriInvest

To participate in AgriStability, fill in and send pages 1 to 7 of the Harmonized form T1273 to the Winnipeg Tax Centre.

The initial deadline to submit your form without penalty is September 30, 2019. The final deadline to submit your form with penalty is December 31, 2019.

We will reduce your benefit by $500 for each month (or part of a month) you submit your form between the initial and final deadline. Forms received after December 31, 2019, are not eligible for benefits.

You must complete a 2018 Harmonized form T1273 and send it to the Winnipeg Tax Centre by December 31, 2019 if you received an AgriStability Interim Payment or a Targeted Advance Payment (or both) for the 2018 program year. If you do not, you will have to repay the money you received.

To participate in AgriInvest, fill in and send pages 1 to 5 of the Harmonized form T1273 to the Winnipeg Tax Centre.

The initial deadline to submit your form without penalty is September 30, 2019. The final deadline to submit your form with penalty is December 31, 2019.

We will reduce your maximum government deposit by 5% for each month (or part of a month) that you submit your form between the initial and final deadline. Forms received after December 31, 2019, will not be eligible for benefits.

If the initial or final deadlines fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or statutory holiday, you have until the next business day to file your form.

Employment insurance (EI) premiums

As a self-employed individual you may be eligible to contribute to Employment insurance (EI) for yourself. You may register to participate if you meet the eligibility criteria defined by Service Canada.

Beginning in the year you register, your EI premiums will be calculated on your income tax return for that year. If you register in 2018 to participate in this program, premiums for 2018 will be calculated on your 2018 income tax return and will be payable by April 30, 2019.

Subsequently, if you pay your income tax by instalments, EI premiums may be included in your instalment payments.

When you register for the EI program, EI premiums will be payable on your self-employment income for the entire year, regardless of the date you register. For example, whether you register in April 2018 or December 2018, you will pay EI premiums on your self-employment income for the entire 2018 year.

EI premiums are payable on the amount of your self-employment earnings up to an annual maximum amount. The annual maximum amount for 2018 is $51,700.

Claim your provincial or territorial non-refundable tax credit for the employment insurance premiums on the provincial or territorial Form 428 at line 5829.

For more information, visit Service Canada.

Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST)

Generally, you must register for the GST/HST if your worldwide gross revenues from your taxable supplies of property and services (including those taxable at 0% and those of your associates) are more than $30,000 in a single calendar quarter or over four consecutive calendar quarters. Taxable supplies of property and services include those that are subject to GST/HST at the applicable rate, those that are taxed at 0% (zero-rated), and those from all your associates.

Do not include in your calculation any revenues from sales of capital property, supplies of financial services, and goodwill from the sale of a business.

For information about GST/HST taxable farm goods and services, zero-rated farm products, and zero-rated farm purchases, see GST/HST rates. For more general information on GST/HST, go to GST/HST or see the GST/HST Memoranda Series 2-1, Required registration.

The GST/HST Registry

The GST/HST Registry is an online service you can use to confirm the GST/HST number of a business. You can use this registry to check if your suppliers are registered for the GST/HST when you claim an input tax credit. For more information, go to Confirming a GST/HST account number.

You can check the Quebec Sales Tax (QST) registration number at Validation of QST and GST Numbers.

What is a partnership?

A partnership is defined as the relationship that exists between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit. You can have a partnership without a written agreement. To help you decide if you are a partner in a certain business, determine the type and extent of your involvement in the business and check your province or territory's laws.

When you form, change, or dissolve a relationship that may be a partnership, consider:

  • whether the relationship is a partnership
  • the special rules about capital gains or losses and the recapture of CCA that apply when you transfer properties to a partnership
  • the special rules that apply when you dissolve a partnership
  • the special rules that apply when you dispose of your interest in a partnership

For more information about partnerships, see Income Tax Folio S4-F16-C1, What is a Partnership? or guide T4068, Guide for the Partnership Information Return (T5013 Forms).

Limited partnership

A limited partnership is composed of one or more general partners and one or more limited partners.

A general partner has unlimited liability for the debts and obligations of the partnership.

A limited partner generally has limited liability for the debts and obligations of the partnership unless the partner is involved in running the business.

Reporting partnership income

A partnership does not file an income tax return, and is not taxed at the partnership level. All income and losses of a partnership flow through to the partners. They report their share on their income tax returns such as their T1, T2, or T3. This requirement is the same whether their share of income was received in cash or as a credit to the partner's capital account. For more information, see guide T4068, Guide for the Partnership Information Return (T5013 Forms).

Partnership losses

If a partnership has a loss from carrying on business in a taxation year, this loss is allocated to the partners. In general, the amount of business loss allocated to a particular partner is either netted against the partner's income from other sources to arrive at net income for the year or is included in determining the partner's non-capital loss for the year, as the case may be.

Note

The loss carry forward period is 20 years for non-capital losses, farm losses, restricted farm losses, and life insurer's Canadian life investment losses incurred.

Filing requirements for partnerships

Under subsection 229(1) of the Regulations, all partnerships that carry on business in Canada or are Canadian partnerships or specified investment flow-through (SIFT) partnerships must file a partnership return. However, under CRA administrative policy, certain partnerships that carry on business in Canada or are Canadian partnerships are not required to file a partnership return.

For more information about the partnership information return and any other filing exemptions, see guide T4068, Guide for the Partnership Information Return (T5013 Forms).

When you receive your T5013 slip, or a partnership financial statement, you must complete a form T1273 or T1274 in the manner described in Chapter 3. Use a separate form T1274 to deduct any business expense you incurred for which the partnership did not repay you. For more information, see Additional expenses (partnerships).

Once Form T1273 is completed, enter the gross income from the T1273 (or total gross income from the T1273 plus any gross income from T1274) on line 168 of your income tax return. Enter your share of the net income from page 5 of Form T1273 (or total of your share of the net income from T1273 plus your share of any net income from T1274) on line 141. Attach copy 2 of your T5013 to your return.

Capital cost allowance (CCA)

A partnership can own depreciable property and claim CCA on it. However, individual partners cannot claim CCA on property the partnership owns.

From the capital cost of depreciable property, subtract any investment tax credit allocated to the individual partners. We consider this allocation to be made at the end of the partnership's fiscal period. You must also reduce the capital cost by any type of government assistance received. Box 040 of your T5013 slip, Statement of Partnership Income, shows the amount of CCA the partnership claimed on your behalf. This amount has already been deducted from your business income in box 116 of the T5013 slip. Do not deduct this amount again.

For more information on CCA and the adjustments to capital cost, see Chapter 5.

Any recapture of CCA or terminal loss on the sale of a partnership's depreciable property is included in the partnership's income or loss for the year that is allocated to the partners. Any taxable capital gain on the sale of a partnership's depreciable property is also allocated to the partners.

For more information about capital gains and losses, as well as recapture and terminal losses, see Chapter 5.

GST/HST rebate for partners

If you are an individual who is a member of a partnership, you may be able to get a rebate for the GST/HST you paid on certain expenses. The rebate is based on the GST/HST you paid on expenses you deducted from your share of the partnership income on your income tax return. However, special rules apply if your partnership paid you an allowance for those expenses. For more information, go to GST/HST rebate for employees and partners.

As an individual who is a member of a partnership, you may qualify for the GST/HST partner rebate if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • the partnership is a GST/HST registrant
  • you personally paid GST/HST on expenses that:
    • you did not incur on behalf of the partnership
    • you deducted from your share of the partnership income on your income tax return

However, special rules apply if the partnership reimbursed you these costs.

Examples of expenses subject to the GST/HST are vehicle costs and certain business-use-of-home-expenses. The rebate may also apply to the GST/HST you paid on motor vehicles, and aircraft, for which you deducted CCA.
The eligible part of the CCA is the part that you deduct on your tax return in the tax year that relates specifically to a motor vehicle or equipment on which you paid GST/HST. It would also be eligible for the rebate, to the extent that the partnership used the property to make taxable supplies.

You can also get a GST/HST rebate calculated on the CCA you claimed on certain types of property. For example, you can claim CCA for a vehicle you bought to earn partnership income if you paid GST/HST when you bought it.

If you deduct CCA on more than one property of the same class, separate the part of the CCA of the property that qualifies for the rebate from the CCA on the other property. If any part of the rebate relates to the CCA deduction for a motor vehicle or equipment, you have to reduce the undepreciated capital cost (UCC) of that property by the amount that is part of the rebate.

Complete form GST370, Employee and Partner GST/HST Rebate Application, to claim your GST/HST rebate for partners. You have to include this rebate in your income for the tax year in which you receive it.

For example, if in 2018 you receive a GST/HST rebate for the 2017 tax year, you have to include the amount of the rebate on your income tax and benefit return for 2018:

  • Enter, as an expense, at line 9974 of form T1273 or T1274 the GST/HST rebate amount for partners that pertains to eligible expenses other than the CCA.
  • In column 2 of "Area A – Calculation of CCA", reduce the UCC for the beginning of 2018 by the rebate part that relates to the eligible CCA.

For more information about the GST/HST rebate, go to our webpage GST/HST rebate for employees and partners.

Investment tax credit (ITC)

An investment tax credit (ITC) lets you subtract part of the cost of some types of property you acquired or expenditures you incurred from the taxes you owe. You may be able to claim this tax credit in 2018 if you:

  • acquired qualifying property
  • incurred qualifying expenditures
  • were allocated renounced Canadian exploration expenses
  • acquired monies paid to agricultural organizations through check-offs, levies or cash assistance

You may also be able to claim this tax credit in 2018 if you have unused ITCs from previous years. For more information about ITCs, see form T2038(IND), Investment Tax Credit (Individuals).

Scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED)

You can receive scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) ITCs on qualified expenditures. You can receive them in the form of a cash refund or a reduction of tax payable or both. Unused SR&ED ITCs can be carried back three years or carried forward 20 years.

Note

Agricultural producers can access ITCs earned on contributions made to agricultural organizations that fund SR&ED. For more information, see Chapter 8 of the Third-Party Payments Policy on the CRA website.

For more information about ITCs and to claim them, see form T2038(IND), Investment Tax Credit (Individuals).

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