Employed artists

You can deduct expenses you paid in 2016 to earn employment income from an artistic activity if you did any of the following:

  • composed a dramatic, musical, or literary work;
  • performed as an actor, dancer, singer, or musician in a dramatic or musical work;
  • performed an artistic activity as a member of a professional artists' association that the Minister of Canadian Heritage has certified; or
  • created a painting, print, etching, drawing, sculpture, or similar work of art. For income tax purposes, it is not an artistic activity when you reproduce these items.

These expenses include any GST and provincial sales tax (PST), or HST, you paid. You may be able to get a rebate of the GST/HST you paid. For more information, see GST/HST Rebate.

The amount you can claim is limited to the lesser of:

a) the expenses you actually paid in 2016; and

b) the lesser of:

  • $1,000; and
  • 20% of your employment income from artistic activities;

minus the following amounts you deducted from your income from an artistic activity:

If you have expenses you cannot claim because of the 20% or $1,000 limit, you can deduct them from artistic income you earn in a future year. Also, you can deduct amounts you carry forward from previous years from your artistic income earned in 2016, as long as the total expenses are within the above noted-limits for 2016.

If you earn artistic income from more than one employer, total your income and expenses before you calculate your claim. In other words, you cannot make a separate claim for each employer.

Note

As an employed artist, you can deduct expenses described in Salaried employees, if you meet the required conditions of an employee earning a salary. If this is the case, you can choose to deduct these expenses separately from the other expenses you paid to earn artistic income. However, choose the option that gives you the greatest deduction in 2016, since you cannot carry forward any unused expenses that you can deduct in 2016.

Example

Barbara is a salaried employee whose employment income from artistic activities was $20,000 in 2016. During 2016, she paid $950 for advertising, $1,550 for travelling, and $350 for musical instrument expenses to earn this income. Since advertising and musical instrument expenses are not listed as deductible expenses of a salaried employee, Barbara will choose the option to deduct these expenses separately as artists' employment expenses because it will allow a greater deduction for 2016. She meets the requirements for deducting her travelling expenses as explained in Travelling expenses, and her musical instrument expenses as discussed in Musical instrument costs, and she can claim her advertising expenses as an artist's expense. Barbara calculates her artists' employment expenses as follows:

The lesser of:

a) $950 (advertising expenses); and

b) the lesser of:

  • $1,000; and
  • $4,000 (20% of $20,000);

minus $350 (musical instrument expenses).

Amount b) is $1,000 – $350 = $650.

The lesser of a) and b) is $650.

Barbara calculates her employment expenses by adding her travelling expenses, artists' employment expenses, and musical instrument expenses ($1,550 + $650 + $350 = $2,550).

Completing your tax return

Enter the amount you can deduct on the Artists' employment expenses line (9973) of Form T777, Statement of Employment Expenses.

Enter the amount from the Total expenses line (9368) on line 229 of your return.

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