Income Tax Folio S4-F14-C1, Artists and Writers

Series 4: Businesses

Folio 14: Income from Artistic Endeavours

Chapter 1: Artists and Writers

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Summary

This Chapter discusses the reporting of income by artists and writers from artistic and literary endeavours. Unless otherwise stated, the word artist in this Chapter refers to visual artists, and includes painters or sculptors, and performing artists such as musicians, actors, or other performers.

This Chapter includes the criteria used by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to distinguish artists and writers who are employees from those who are self-employed. This distinction is important in determining the expenses that are deductible in computing income.

An artist or writer who is self-employed is generally considered to be operating a business, provided the activity is undertaken in pursuit of profit and there is objective evidence of business-like behaviour which supports that intention. Accordingly, such an artist or writer is entitled to deduct reasonable expenses incurred in connection with earning income from that business, except to the extent that they are denied, or limited, by a provision of the Income Tax Act. Examples of expenses that are deductible by a self-employed artist or writer are discussed in this Chapter. Also discussed are the valuation of inventories and deductibility of work space in home expenses.

An artist or writer who is an employee is restricted in the type of employment-related expenses that may be deducted in computing income from employment. This Chapter discusses the following permitted deductions: travel, motor vehicle, musical instrument, and artists' employment expenses, which are all subject to certain limitations. Other expenses which may be deductible by employees are discussed in Guide T4044, Employment Expenses.

An artist or writer may receive amounts that are neither business nor employment income, that may be required to be included in income. This Chapter discusses the tax treatment of amounts received by an artist or writer that are to be used in the production of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work (referred to in this chapter as an art production grant). Where an artist or writer receives an art production grant in circumstances where the grant constitutes neither business nor employment income, an exemption is permitted in calculating their income. The art production grant exemption allows an artist or writer to exclude from income reasonable expenses incurred to fulfil the conditions of each art production grant, not exceeding the amount of the grant. An artist or writer may be entitled to exclude from income up to an additional $500 (commonly known as the basic scholarship exemption).

For a general discussion of the tax treatment of amounts that are considered a scholarship, fellowship, bursary, prize, or research grant, readers are referred to Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C3, Scholarships, Research Grants and Other Education Assistance.

This Chapter also discusses the tax incentives available to artists and writers who make certain donations, including the special tax incentive for gifts of works of art created by visual artists.

The CRA issues income tax folios to provide a summary of technical interpretations and positions regarding certain provisions contained in income tax law. Due to their technical nature, folios are used primarily by tax specialists and other individuals who have an interest in tax matters. While each paragraph in a chapter of a folio may relate to provisions of the law in force at the time it was written (see the Application section), the information provided is not a substitute for the law. The reader should, therefore, consider the Chapter’s information in light of the relevant provisions of the law in force for the particular tax year being considered.

Non-resident artists who provide services in Canada may refer to the webpage titled Simplified Regulation 105 income tax waiver application for non-resident artist and athletes for information that may be relevant to them. Similarly, the webpage Non-resident actors provides information for non-resident individuals who provide film or video acting services in Canada.

The CRA may have published additional guidance and detailed filing instructions on matters discussed in this Chapter. See the CRA Forms and publications web page for this information and other topics that may be of interest.

Unless otherwise specified, all references to a section, subsection, paragraph, or subparagraph are to legislation. Also, unless otherwise stated, all references to legislation are to the Income Tax Act and all references to a Regulation are to the Income Tax Regulations. Please refer to the Application section below.

Table of contents

Discussion and interpretation

Sources of income

1.1 For purposes of the Income Tax Act, a Canadian-resident taxpayer's income for a tax year includes income from all sources inside or outside of Canada, including income from each office, employment, business or property. Self-employment is not specifically referred to in the Act as a source of income because a self-employed taxpayer is generally considered to be carrying on a business which, as indicated above, is a source of income. This Chapter applies to artists and writers who are resident in Canada.

1.2 Governments and the private sector offer various types of assistance in the form of grants, prizes, and other types of assistance for the promotion of the arts. This Chapter discusses the tax treatment of art production grants (see ¶1.66) where it has been determined that these amounts are neither business nor employment income. This Chapter also refers readers to Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C3, Scholarships, Research Grants and Other Education Assistance, for a discussion of the tax treatment of other forms of assistance.

1.3 Depending on the nature of the amounts received, whether the recipient is an employee or a self-employed individual, and the arrangements or circumstances under which the funds are provided, the amount received may generally be included in the recipient’s income as:

1.4 The tax treatment of a particular amount depends not upon the label affixed to it, but upon its true nature. In order to determine the tax treatment of an amount (for example, an art production grant), it must first be ascertained whether, for income tax purposes, it is properly characterized as income from business or property; income from an office or employment; a scholarship, fellowship, bursary, prize, research grant, financial assistance or something else (collectively referred to as other income in ¶1.3). For example, where an amount is neither business, property, nor employment income, the nature and characterization of the amount will depend upon the primary purpose for which the amount was provided, as determined by reference to the terms and conditions attached to the amount. This requires a consideration of all relevant facts and information. Factors relevant to determining the tax treatment of an amount are discussed throughout the rest of this Chapter, or where appropriate, readers are referred to Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C3.

Employee or self-employed

1.5 The definitions of employee, employer, and employment in subsection 248(1) are not comprehensive definitions of those terms. It is appropriate to refer to the law governing the contractual relationship between a worker and a payer to determine whether an employer-employee relationship exists when the applicable legislation does not define it. The civil law and common law are equally authoritative and recognized sources of law in determining whether an employer-employee relationship exists for income tax purposes. Civil law applies in Quebec. Common law applies in the territories and provinces other than Quebec.

1.6 Many factors must be considered in establishing whether an individual is an employee or is self-employed. Essentially, the question to be decided is whether the contract between the parties is a contract of service or employment that exists between an employer and an employee, or is a contract for services, that is, the engagement of a self-employed individual.

1.7 A contract of service or employment generally exists if the person for whom the services are performed has the right to control the amount, the nature, and the management of the work to be done and the manner of doing it. A contract for services exists when a person is engaged to achieve a defined objective and is given all the freedom required to attain the desired result.

1.8 In a series of successive arrangements or contracts, an artist or writer may be an employee for a certain period and, upon termination of the contract as an employee, subsequently become self-employed. In other circumstances, an individual can be an employee under one arrangement or contract and, over the same period of time, be self-employed under a second arrangement. An individual, however, cannot be both an employee and self-employed under the same arrangement or contract.

1.9 The determination of whether an artist or writer is under a contract of service or employment, or a contract for services is a question of fact, and will depend on the nature and the terms of the contract or arrangement (written or oral), its duration, and all the elements that constitute the relationship between the parties. ¶1.11 and 1.12 discuss guidelines or factors which will help in this determination.

1.10 The factors that have to be considered when deciding if a worker is an employee or a self-employed individual depend on whether the contract is formed in any province or territory outside Quebec, or, in the province of Quebec.

1.11 If the contract is formed in a province or territory other than Quebec, the CRA’s approach is to examine the total relationship between the worker and the payer using a two-step approach.

Step 1 - Look at the intention of the parties when they entered into the working arrangement.

Step 2 - Determine whether the intent of the parties is reflected in the facts by looking at the following elements:

Then determine whether the actual working conditions are more consistent with a contract of service or with a contract for services.

1.12 If the contract is formed in the province of Quebec, the CRA’s approach is to examine the relationship between the worker and the payer, using a three-step approach.

Step 1 - Look at the intention of the parties when they entered into the working arrangement.

Step 2 - Determine whether  the employment meets the definition of a contract of employment or of a business contract (contract for services) defined in the Civil Code of Québec by considering the following factors:

Step 3 - Compare each party's intentions with their actual working relationship. Decide whether the conditions of the working relationship represent the status that the parties have chosen and that they are consistent with the definitions of the Civil Code of Québec.

1.13 In applying these criteria, it is the complete interaction between the worker and the payer that must be considered. In the common law, no single criterion determines whether an individual is an employee or a self-employed person; all the criteria are considered relevant. In the civil law, direction or control of the other person is essential for an employment relationship. Some of the  criteria listed in ¶1.11 Step 2 can be helpful in determining whether direction or control exists.

1.14 Guide RC4110 Employee or Self-Employed, provides additional information that may be of assistance in making this determination. If a worker or payer is not sure of the worker's employment status, either party can request a ruling from the CRA to have the status determined. For more information go to How to get a ruling for Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance purposes.

1.15 Artists and writers who are employees may be eligible for benefits under both the Employment Insurance (EI) Act and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Under CPP and EI legislation, both the employer and the employee are obligated to contribute to the CPP when the employee is in pensionable employment and to EI when the employee is in insurable employment. Employers make CPP contributions and pay EI premiums for each employee and deduct the employee's CPP contributions and EI premiums from amounts they pay their employees and remit these amounts to the CRA.

1.16 Self-employed artists and writers pay both the employer and employee portions of CPP contributions when they file their T1 income tax and benefit return. They do not pay EI premiums unless they opt into the EI program for access to EI special benefits, which include maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver benefits.

1.17 The Quebec provincial government administers its own provincial pension plan called the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), its own provincial income tax, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), which is also called the Provincial Parental Insurance Plan (PPIP). Self-employed artists and writers who reside in Quebec on the last day of any year contribute to the Québec Pension Plan. Taxpayers who perform services in the Province of Quebec should consult Revenu Québec concerning their QPP and QPIP obligations.

Income from a business

1.18 Subsection 9(1) provides that a taxpayer's income for a tax year from a business is the profit from that business for the year. Business income of a taxpayer will generally include income from self-employment. Guide T4002 Self-employed Business, Professional, Commission, Farming, and Fishing Income states that a business is an activity that an individual intends to carry on for a profit and there is evidence to support that intention. In order to be able to deduct business expenses incurred against income or for business losses to be deductible for income tax purposes, it must first be determined if a business exists. Whether a taxpayer’s activity is undertaken in a sufficiently commercial or business-like manner is relevant in determining whether there is a business.

Pursuit of profit or personal endeavour

1.19 In order to determine if a business exists, it is important to consider whether the artist’s or writer’s activities are undertaken in pursuit of profit, or whether they are a personal endeavour. This is consistent with the approach taken by the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v Canada, 2002 SCC 46, 2002 DTC 6969 and Walls v Canada 2002 SCC 47, 2002 DTC 6960. In those cases, the Court applied the following two-stage approach to determine whether the taxpayer’s activity was considered a source of income (business or property) for purposes of the Act:

“(i) Is the activity of the taxpayer undertaken in pursuit of profit, or is it a personal endeavour?

(ii) If it is not a personal endeavour, is the source of the income a business or property?”

1.20 Generally, a personal endeavour is undertaken to obtain a personal benefit rather than a financial one. Personal endeavours are primarily undertaken for motives other than for profit, business, or commercial reasons.

1.21 Although an endeavour may have personal aspects, where it is pursued in a sufficiently commercial and business-like manner, it could be considered to be a business activity, which would generate business income for purposes of the Act.

1.22 It was determined in the Stewart decision that in order for an activity to be classified as commercial in nature, the taxpayer must have the subjective intention to profit and there must be evidence of business-like behaviour which supports that intention. Some objective factors to be considered when determining if there is an intention to profit identified in Stewart were: the profitability of prior years, the taxpayer’s training, the taxpayer’s intended course of action, and the capability of the venture to show a profit. In paragraph 55 of the Stewart decision, the Supreme Court of Canada reiterated that, “...this list is not intended to be exhaustive, and that the factors will differ with the nature and extent of the undertaking.” ¶1.24 lists some relevant factors that could be considered by artists or writers in determining whether the artist’s or writer’s activity is undertaken in a sufficiently commercial or business-like manner as to constitute a business activity.

1.23 As mentioned, the relevant factors to be considered in making a determination of commerciality will differ with the nature and extent of the activity or undertaking. Whether a particular activity is undertaken with an intention to profit is a question of fact that can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. Where it is so determined, the income or loss from the activities is generally considered to be from a business and will be treated as such for income tax purposes.

1.24 Factors which should be considered by the artist or writer in determining whether the artist’s or writer’s activity is undertaken in a sufficiently commercial or business‑like manner include:

  1. the amount of time devoted to the artistic or literary endeavours;
  2. the extent to which an artist or writer has presented their works in public and private settings including, but not limited to, exhibiting, publishing, and reading as is appropriate to the nature of the work;
  3. the extent to which an artist is represented by an art dealer, agent, or mandatary and the extent to which a writer is represented by a publisher or literary agent;
  4. the amount of time devoted to, and type of activity normally pursued in, promoting and marketing the artist's or writer's own works;
  5. the amount of revenue received that is relevant to the artist's or writer's own works including, but not limited to, revenue from sales, commissions, royalties, fees, grants, and awards which may reasonably be included in business income;
  6. the historical record, spanning a significant number of years, of annual profits or losses relevant to the artist's or writer's exploitation of their own works;
  7. the type of expenses claimed and their relevance to the endeavour(s) (for example, in the case of a writer there would be a positive indication of business activity if a substantial portion of the expenses were incurred for research);
  8. the artist's or writer's qualifications as an artist or writer, respectively (for example, as evidenced by training, education, or by public and peer recognition received in the form of honours, awards, prizes, and/or critical appraisal);
  9. membership in any professional association of artists or writers whose membership or categories of membership are limited under standards established by that association; and
  10. the significance of the amount of gross revenue derived by an artist or writer from the exploitation of that individual's own works and the growth of such gross revenue over time. In applying this factor, external influences such as economic conditions may affect the sale of artistic or literary works, will be taken into consideration.

1.25 No particular factor described in ¶1.24 is more important than another and no single factor determines whether the activity is undertaken in a sufficiently commercial or business-like manner when the activity has some personal element. All relevant criteria should be considered together in making a determination and the taxpayer's failure to meet any one particular factor will not in itself preclude the taxpayer's artistic or literary activities from qualifying as a business.

1.26 In the case of an artist or writer, it is possible they may not realize a profit during their lifetime. In order for the taxpayer to be considered to have undertaken the activity in pursuit of profit, i.e. to be considered to be carrying on business, the artistic or literary endeavours must be carried on in a sufficiently commercial or business-like manner.

Example 1

The following example illustrates the concepts discussed in ¶1.19 to 1.26.

Raj works full-time Monday to Friday as a bookkeeper for ABC Co. He always knew he had artistic talent, so five years ago, Raj decided to take a few courses in acrylic painting.

After completing the courses, Raj started to paint acrylic artwork from home on weekends and some evenings during the week. For the past three years, every Saturday, Raj has rented a booth at a local artist market to sell his paintings. He enjoys mixing with other artists, talking to people, and making connections. He created a website which was originally used to display pictures of his work. He has since had the website upgraded and now also uses it to promote his booth at the artist market, sell his artwork online and to correspond with customers. Raj also hired a local company to advertise his paintings on other social media platforms.

Raj has been recognized by the local community as a talented painter and was invited this year to exhibit his paintings at a local art gallery. He was recently nominated by the Chamber of Commerce in the “most creative artist” category in their community recognition program. An art dealer saw Raj’s work and offered to help with promotion. Raj pays the dealer for his services. Thanks to the exposure, Raj was commissioned by a local business to paint several pieces for their corporate offices. Raj pays annual fees to belong to a professional association of artists. Raj has been thrilled to be able to supplement his employment income with profits from his art. The total profits have been steady over the past three years.

Question: Is Raj’s artistic activity undertaken in pursuit of profit or as a personal endeavour?

Discussion: Based on the facts of Raj’s situation, it would be reasonable to conclude that his painting activity is undertaken with an intention to profit. The following factors are consistent with a conclusion that the activity is undertaken in a sufficiently commercial or business-like manner:

  • the amount of time Raj devotes to the artistic activity;
  • the paintings are for sale at the local artist market, on the website, and exhibited at the local art gallery;
  • the advertising efforts to promote Raj’s paintings at the local market, on social media and on the website;
  • the representation of an art dealer to promote the paintings;
  • a history of three years of profit from the artistic activity;
  • the painting courses taken by Raj to become a successful painter;
  • recognition by the Chamber of Commerce in the “most creative artist” category; and
  • the annual membership fees paid to the professional association of artists.

Financial assistance received in the course of operating a business

1.27 When a taxpayer receives financial assistance in the course of operating a business, the amount is included in the calculation of their business income. An example of such assistance is Canada Council for the Arts grants to self-employed artists. In addition, payments made for the purchase of works of art from a self-employed artist such as under an art bank program are considered to be ordinary business income to the artist; accordingly, such payments are included in calculating their business income or loss.

1.28 When an amount received for the production of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work does not constitute business income, it may be employment income (see ¶1.44 to 1.62) or other income (see ¶1.63 to 1.67).

Public lending rights payments

1.29 The Canada Council for the Arts distributes annual Public Lending Rights (PLR) payments to Canadian authors through the PLR program as a form of discretionary cultural support to eligible individual creators of literary and scholarly works that are found in the public library collections. The CRA considers PLR payments to be taxable as business income.

Royalty payments

1.30 Royalties are considered payments received as compensation for using or allowing the use of a copyright, patent, trademark, formula, or secret process. They can also include payments in regard to cinematic films, film works, or television tapes.

1.31 Although royalty income is generally considered to be income from property, such income will be considered to be income from a business where the income is related to business activities carried on by the recipient taxpayer in the year, or the recipient taxpayer is, in the year, in the business of originating property from which the royalties are received. For example, if a taxpayer is in the business of composing music, the royalty income earned from their copyrighted music would generally be considered business income.

Visual artists' inventories

1.32 Inventory of a visual artist may include unfinished and finished works of art, as well as materials and supplies that are on hand and unsold at the fiscal year-end of the artist's business. The cost of a work of art includes the cost of materials (e.g., paint, canvas, sculpting medium) and labour (other than the artist's own labour) used in its execution as well as an appropriate portion of variable overhead expenses (e.g., fees of models, kiln energy costs). For additional information concerning the valuation of inventory, reference should be made to Interpretation Bulletin IT-473R Inventory Valuation.

1.33 Generally, in computing income from a business, inventory is to be valued at its cost to the taxpayer or its fair market value, whichever is lower, or in such other manner as may be permitted in Part XVIII of the Regulations.

1.34 As a general rule, the cost of property unsold and material unused (in other words, inventory) at the fiscal year-end of a business is only deductible in computing the profit or loss of the business for a subsequent fiscal year when any such property is sold. However, for the purpose of computing income from an artistic endeavour for a tax year, subsection 10(6) allows an individual to make an election in the return of income for the year that would deem the value of the property in inventory for that year to be nil. The expression artistic endeavour of an individual is defined in subsection 10(8) to mean the business of creating paintings, prints, etchings, drawings, sculptures, or similar works of art, where such works of art are created by the individual.

1.35 It should be noted that by virtue of subsection 10(8), an individual cannot make a subsection 10(6) election in respect of:

The subsection 10(6) election is not available to an individual who is in the business of writing.

1.36 Where an individual has made a subsection 10(6) election for a tax year, it is effective for subsequent tax years as well, and can be revoked only with the concurrence of the CRA and on such terms and conditions as are specified by the CRA.

Expenses of self-employed artists and writers

1.37 Where an artist or writer is self-employed, expenses incurred to earn business income are deductible, subject to satisfying various requirements under the Act. In order to be deductible, an outlay or expense must meet at least the following general requirements:

1.38 For artists and writers, examples of deductible expenses could include:

  1. insurance premiums on musical instruments and equipment;
  2. the cost of repairs to instruments and equipment, including the cost of new reeds, strings, pads, and accessories;
  3. legal and accounting fees;
  4. union dues and professional membership dues;
  5. an agent's or mandatary's commission;
  6. remuneration paid to a substitute or assistant;
  7. the cost of makeup and hair styling required for public appearances;
  8. publicity expenses consisting generally of the cost of having photographs taken and sent with a descriptive commentary to producers, presenters, and the media, and including the cost of advertisements in publications;
  9. transportation expenses related to an engagement (including an audition) in a situation where:
    1. the engagement is out of town, in which case, board and lodging would also be allowed (see Interpretation Bulletin IT‑518R, Food, Beverages and Entertainment Expenses),
    2. a large instrument or equipment must be carried to the engagement,
    3. dress clothes must be worn from a residence to the place of engagement, or
    4. one engagement follows another so closely in time that a car or taxi is the only means by which the engagement can be fulfilled;
  10. the cost of filming or recording performances where required for their preparation or presentation;
  11. telephone and cell phone expenses, including an applicable portion of the cost of a telephone in a residence where the number is listed as a business phone;
  12. capital cost allowance (CCA) (Class 8) on instruments, sheet music, scores, scripts, transcriptions, arrangements, and equipment;
  13. CCA (Class 8) on the cost of wardrobe items acquired by an artist specifically to earn self-employment income and that is used solely for performances, when the acquisition of such items gives rise to an enduring benefit to the artist. ¶1.4 of Income Tax Folio S3-F4-C1, General Discussion of Capital Cost Allowance discusses the meaning of the expression enduring benefit;
  14. the cost of wardrobe items used solely for performances when there is no enduring benefit to an artist;
  15. the cost of repairs, alterations, and cleaning of clothes for the purpose of their use in self-employment, or required as a result of such use;
  16. costs to maintain that part of an artist or writer's residence used for business purposes or to rent a studio;
  17. the cost of music, acting, or other lessons incurred for a particular role or part or for the purpose of general self-improvement in an individual's artistic field;
  18. the cost of industry-related periodicals;
  19. the cost of equipment rental;
  20. art shipping expenses; and
  21. the cost of professional development activities and specialized training.

1.39 The following deductions are not allowable because they are either capital expenditures or they are personal or living expenses:

1.40 Under different contracts or arrangements during a year, an artist or writer could be self-employed for one period and an employee for another period (see ¶1.8). Expenses that are incurred during this year may, therefore, apply to both periods. In this situation, an allocation should be made to determine the portion of expenses which are deductible for calculating the self-employment income. The amount of expenses deductible against business income will be that proportion of the total expenses otherwise allowable that the working time to earn income from self-employment is of the total working time. While the CRA normally adopts time as the basis for allocating expenses, it will consider any other justifiable basis.

Example 2

The following example illustrates the rule discussed in ¶1.40.

Jean incurred expenses of $3,000 in the course of earning income as a musician throughout the year. Jean worked a total of 240 days during the year. Of the 240 days worked, 160 days related to the period within which Jean worked at various social events as a self-employed individual. Jean was employed by a local orchestra company for the remaining 80 days.

In summary:

  • Total qualified expenses incurred to earn income: $3,000
  • Period of self-employment in the year: 160 days
  • Period as an employee in the year: 80 days
  • Total earning period: 240 days

The expenses allocable to the period of self-employment are calculated as follows:

(Period of self-employment ÷ total earning period) × total expenses

= (160 ÷240) × $3,000

= $2,000

Work space in home expenses

1.41 In computing an individual’s income from a business for a tax year, subsection 18(12) provides that no deduction may be claimed for expenses related to the use of any part (referred to as a work space) of a self-contained domestic establishment where the individual resides, unless certain conditions are met. Specifically, in order to deduct expenses related to a work space, the work space must be:

  1. the principal place of business of the individual; or
  2. used exclusively to earn business income and used on a regular and continuous basis for meeting clients or customers of the individual in respect of the business.

1.42 The expression self-contained domestic establishment is defined in subsection 248(1) as a dwelling-house, apartment, or other similar place of residence in which place a person as a general rule sleeps and eats. A residence is considered to be a self-contained domestic establishment if it is a living unit with restricted access that contains a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping facilities. A room (or rooms) in a hotel, dormitory, boarding house, or bunkhouse would not ordinarily be a self-contained domestic establishment.

1.43 Expenses otherwise deductible relating to the work space cannot create or increase a loss from the business for which the space is used. However, the expenses not allowed because of this restriction in a year are treated as expenses related to the work space incurred in the immediately following year. This permits the carry-forward of such expenses to the next year providing either condition described in ¶1.41(a) or (b) is met in that next year. Where either condition is met on a continuous basis, such expenses not deductible in a tax year may be carried forward indefinitely. For further details refer to Income Tax Folio S4-F2-C2, Business Use of Home Expenses.

Income from office or employment

1.44 Amounts received as salary, wages, and other remuneration, including tips and gratuities, are considered employment income under subsection 5(1). In addition, benefits and allowances received or enjoyed because of employment are, generally, included in an individual’s employment income under paragraph 6(1)(a) or (b). This will be the case even if the employer receives funding to pay the individual’s remuneration from a third party, or if a third party subsidizes the individual’s remuneration or benefits directly.

Example 3

A writer was employed by an artistic organization on the strength of a grant awarded to the organization from the Canada Council for the Arts. In this situation, the writer's remuneration would be subject to tax as employment income under subsection 5(1). The fact that the artistic organization obtained funding for the writer’s remuneration through a grant is irrelevant.

Expenses of employed artists and writers

1.45 Artists and writers who are employees are not allowed to claim any deductions in computing income from an office or employment other than those specified in section 8. Some common deductions that may be available to artists and writers are provided in paragraphs 8(1)(h), (j), (p), and (q), which are discussed below. For additional discussion of these paragraphs and other expenses which may be deducted by employees under section 8, including motor vehicle expenses under paragraph 8(1)(h.1) and work‑space‑in‑the‑home expenses under subsection 8(13), refer to Guide T4044, Employment Expenses.

1.46 Paragraph 8(1)(h) relates to travelling expenses other than motor vehicle expenses. Expenses deductible under paragraph 8(1)(h) are those that are directly related to travel, such as accommodation, meals, and transportation. This paragraph permits the deduction of travelling expenses incurred in the year by an employee in the performance of duties of an office or employment where the employee:

1.47 Paragraph 8(1)(j) permits an employee to deduct interest expense and CCA in respect of a motor vehicle or aircraft if certain conditions are met. A deduction is permitted where:

1.48 With regard to CCA, where the vehicle is a passenger vehicle or a zero‑emission passenger vehicle, the capital cost otherwise determined may be limited by paragraphs 13(7)(g), (h), and (i). For additional information on the CCA rules for passenger or zero‑emission passenger vehicles, see Guide T4044, Employment Expenses.

1.49 Paragraph 8(1)(p) permits a deduction for musical instrument costs. It is available to a taxpayer who is:

1.50 The deduction available under paragraph 8(1)(p) is the sum of the following two amounts, which are described in subparagraphs 8(1)(p)(i) and (ii):

1.51 The total deduction for the year under paragraph 8(1)(p) for the maintenance, rental, insurance, and CCA for the instrument cannot exceed the taxpayer's income from the employment as a musician for the year, as determined prior to any deduction under this provision. Consequently, the deduction under paragraph 8(1)(p) cannot create or increase a loss from employment.

1.52 Where a musician is both self-employed and an employee in the year, CCA for the instrument may be claimed as a deduction in computing income from business (in self-employment) and under paragraph 8(1)(p) in computing income from employment. In such a situation, however, the total combined CCA claimed for the year in respect of the instrument, cannot exceed the undepreciated capital cost of the instrument as allowed for the year for property in Class 8 of Schedule II of the Regulations. In addition, the amounts of CCA, maintenance, rental, and insurance expenses deductible for the instrument in computing the musician's income from employment are limited to the portion of those expenses applicable to earning such employment income as allocated in the manner discussed in ¶1.40.

1.53 The purpose of a musician’s musical instrument may change, either from gaining or producing income to personal use, or from personal use to gaining or producing income. When a musical instrument’s use changes, either partially or entirely, the change-in-use rules in paragraphs 13(7)(a), (b), and (c) will apply.

1.54 When there is a change in use, a musician may be considered to have disposed of and reacquired all or part of the instrument at its fair market value. Paragraphs 13(7)(a), (b), and (c) establish rules for determining the proceeds of disposition and the capital cost of property deemed to have been reacquired.

1.55 Capital gains or recapture of CCA may arise on the disposition of a musical instrument. However, typically no loss may be claimed when an instrument or other property is converted from being used for personal purposes to income producing purposes due to paragraph 40(2)(g). Additionally, no terminal loss may be claimed on property used to earn income from employment.

Example 4

Gina purchased a musical instrument for $2,000 and used it exclusively for personal purposes. After several years, Gina began using the instrument to earn employment income. At the time of the change in use, Gina did some research and determined the fair market value (FMV) of the instrument was $1,000.

Question: What are the immediate tax consequences to Gina on the change in use of her musical instrument from personal to income earning?

Discussion: Under subsection 13(7), Gina is deemed to have disposed of the instrument for its FMV of $1,000. No loss is available to Gina on the disposition. Gina is also deemed to have reacquired the instrument immediately after the disposition at its FMV of $1,000, which will be the instrument’s capital cost for purposes of claiming CCA.

If the FMV at the time of the change in use had been more than the original cost, the deemed capital cost would have been less than that FMV – based on the formula in paragraph 13(7)(b).

1.56  The acquisition or deemed acquisition on a change in use of an instrument has implications for the amount of CCA that may be claimed in a year. For more information on the CCA rules, see Income Tax Folio S3‑F4-C1, General Discussion of Capital Cost Allowance.

1.57  Paragraph 8(1)(q) allows a deduction for a taxpayer's expenses paid to earn employment income from an artistic activity that falls into any of the following four categories (referred to as a qualifying artistic activity):

1.58  For an expense to be deductible under paragraph 8(1)(q), it must have been incurred before the end of the year and not have been deductible in computing the taxpayer's income for a previous tax year.

1.59  Where, during a tax year, an artist or writer is self-employed for a period and an employee for another period, the expenses which relate to both periods should be allocated in the manner described in ¶1.40 in order to determine the portion of expenses that were paid to earn employment income from qualifying artistic activities.

1.60  The expenses which can be deducted under paragraph 8(1)(q) cannot exceed a legislated limit for each tax year. The annual limit is calculated as follows:

(Lesser of A or B) minus C where:

A = $1,000

B = 20% of all the taxpayer's employment income for the year from all qualifying artistic activities, before claiming any deductions under section 8

C = all amounts deducted for the year in calculating employment income from those qualifying artistic activities under paragraph 8(1)(j) (interest or CCA for motor vehicles or aircraft) and paragraph 8(1)(p) (musical instrument costs).

1.61 Any expenses that are not deductible for the year under paragraph 8(1)(q) because they exceed the limit described in ¶1.60, and that are not deductible under another provision of the Act, are carried forward to the immediately subsequent year. In the subsequent year, the expenses carried forward, plus any new expenses paid in the year to earn employment income from qualifying artistic activities, are deductible under paragraph 8(1)(q). This deduction will be subject to the limit calculated for that year. Again, any amount that is not deductible would be carried forward.

Example 5

The following example illustrates the rules discussed in ¶1.57 to 1.61.

Claude is a musician who earned employment income of $22,500 during the tax year as a performer of musical works. This is a qualifying artistic activity described in subparagraph 8(1)(q)(iii) and discussed in ¶1.57.

During the year, Claude paid $700 for advertising and $1,300 for travelling to earn this income. Additionally, he is required to use his own musical instrument in the performance of his employment duties and has calculated that his maximum CCA deduction for the year in respect of his instrument is $350. He has no subparagraph 8(1)(p)(i) instrument costs and no paragraph 8(1)(j) motor vehicle interest expense or CCA amount.

Claude’s travel expenses meet the requirements of paragraph 8(1)(h). Since the travel expenses were also incurred to earn income from a qualifying artistic activity, they may be deducted under paragraph 8(1)(h) or 8(1)(q).

Question: How much can Claude deduct in the year?

Discussion: The amount deductible for the year by Claude is calculated as the total of:

  • Eligible artists’ employment expenses under paragraph 8(1)(q)
  • Travel expenses under either paragraph 8(1)(h) or paragraph 8(1)(q)
  • CCA in respect of his instrument under paragraph 8(1)(p)

Scenario A: Travel expenses are deducted under 8(1)(h)

(i) Calculation of Claude’s 8(1)(q) annual limit for artists’ employment expenses under Scenario A
Lesser of A or B:
A = 1,000, and
B = 4,500 (20% of $22,500);
$1,000
Minus C: amounts deducted in the year under paragraphs 8(1)(j) or (p) $350
Claude’s annual 8(1)(q) limit $650
(ii) Calculation of total allowable expenses under Scenario A
Advertising expenses deductible under paragraph 8(1)(q) (total eligible expenses paid were $700, but the deduction cannot exceed the limit of $650) $650
Add: travel expenses deductible under paragraph 8(1)(h) $1,300
Add: CCA deductible under paragraph 8(1)(p) $350
Total amount deductible in the current year $2,300

Claude can deduct $2,300 against his employment income. Additionally, Claude has $50 of advertising expenses (the $700 he paid minus the $650 he is allowed to deduct in the current year) that he can carry forward to deduct in a future year against a qualifying artistic activity under paragraph 8(1)(q).

Scenario B: Travel expenses are deducted under 8(1)(q) as eligible artists’ employment expenses

Since the travel expenses of $1,300 were paid to earn employment income from a qualifying artistic activity, Claude could choose to include them in his eligible artists' employment expenses instead of deducting them under paragraph 8(1)(h).

(i) Calculation of Claude’s 8(1)(q) annual limit for artists’ employment expenses under Scenario B
Lesser of A or B:
A = 1,000, and
B = 4,500 (20% of $22,500);
$1,000
Minus C: amounts deducted in the year under paragraphs 8(1)(j) or (p) $350
Claude’s annual 8(1)(q) limit $650
(ii) Calculation of total allowable expenses under Scenario B
Advertising and travel expenses deductible under paragraph 8(1)(q) (the eligible expenses paid are $2,000 ($700 + $1,300), but the deduction cannot exceed the limit of $650) $650
Add: CCA deductible under paragraph 8(1)(p) $350
Total amount deductible in the current year $1,000

The amount of Claude’s eligible artists’ employment expenses under paragraph 8(1)(q) in Scenario B is $2,000 instead of $700 as in Scenario A. However, the amount that he can deduct for the year under paragraph 8(1)(q) is still only $650 due to his annual limit for the year.

In addition, because the $1,300 of travel expenses are deductible in the current year under paragraph 8(1)(h), these expenses cannot be carried forward to deduct in a future year against a qualifying artistic activity under paragraph 8(1)(q). This is the case even though the travel expenses of $1,300 were not actually deducted under paragraph 8(1)(h) in the current year. As a result, the amount of artists' employment expenses that can be carried forward to deduct in a future year is still $50 ($2,000 eligible – $650 deductible under paragraph 8(1)(q) – $1,300 deductible under paragraph 8(1)(h)).

Conclusion:

In these circumstances, it would be to Claude’s advantage to deduct the travel expenses of $1,300 under paragraph 8(1)(h) instead of under 8(1)(q). By doing so, the total amount he can deduct in the current year is $2,300 (Scenario A) instead of $1,000 (Scenario B).

1.62 For additional information on employment income and expenses, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.

Other income

1.63 An artist or writer may receive one or more art production grants, research grants, or prizes. To determine the income tax implications of the amounts an artist or writer receives, all the relevant facts and circumstances must be considered. For tax purposes, the substance of the assistance must fit within the wording of the Act, regardless of the terminology used by the parties. The relationship between the parties and the nature of the payments and agreements that may be in place must be reviewed. For example, if an artist or writer receives an amount in respect of an employment relationship, this amount would generally be considered employment income regardless of whether the amount is referred to as remuneration versus a prize, grant, or some other term.

1.64 This section of the Chapter discusses the tax treatment of art production grants received by an artist or writer that are neither business nor employment income in the hands of the recipient. Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C3 discusses the tax treatment of scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, prizes, research grants, certain government financial assistance for education and training, forgivable loans, and repayable awards.

1.65 Where it is determined that the amount an artist or writer has received is neither business income nor employment income, the amount may be characterized as something else for income tax purposes. For example, it might be:

Art production grants that are neither business nor employment income

1.66 An art production grant is typically paid in respect of a specific project. The phrase art production grant is not defined in the Act; however, it generally refers to an amount that is to be used by an artist or writer in the production of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work. Art production grants that are neither business nor employment income are included in an artist’s or writer’s income pursuant to subparagraph 56(1)(n)(i) subject to the exemptions under subsection 56(3).

1.67 Paragraph 56(1)(n) does not apply to amounts received in the course of business, in respect of, in the course of, or by virtue of employment.

Exemptions

1.68 Subsection 56(3) exempts the first $500 of total amounts that have been included in computing a taxpayer's income under paragraph 56(1)(n) for a particular tax year. This $500 is commonly referred to as the basic scholarship exemption.

1.69 Subsection 56(3) permits an exemption in excess of $500 in certain situations. In particular, paragraph 56(3)(b), which is commonly referred to as the art production grant exemption, permits a taxpayer to exclude from income an amount relating to a scholarship, fellowship, bursary, or prize that is to be used by the taxpayer in the production of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work. In order for the art production grant exemption to apply, the amount of the grant must be included in computing the taxpayer's income under paragraph 56(1)(n). Research grants, for example, are not eligible for the exemption under subsection 56(3) because they are included in income under other provisions, such as paragraph 56(1)(o).

1.70 The total scholarship exemption computed under subsection 56(3) cannot exceed the related amount used in computing a taxpayer’s income under subparagraph 56(1)(n)(i). The net amount is included in the artist’s or writer’s income in the year received. For more information about the scholarship exemption under subsection 56(3), see ¶3.90 to 3.101 of Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C3.

1.71 The art production grant exemption is calculated as the total amount of reasonable expenses (see ¶1.73) incurred in the year to fulfill the conditions of receiving each art production grant, up to, but not exceeding, the total amount of each grant that is used in computing the taxpayer’s income under subparagraph 56(1)(n)(i).

1.72 Paragraph 56(3)(b) provides that eligible expenses must be incurred in the same year in which the funds in respect of the art production grant are received in order to be deductible from the grant. In some cases, expenses related to the grant may be incurred in the year immediately before, or in the year immediately after, the year in which the grant is received. While those expenses are not deductible in the year in which they are incurred, they are considered to be deductible from the art production grant in the year the grant is received. However, expenses incurred in the year immediately before the grant is received are only deductible from the grant if they are incurred after the artist has received notification that the grant will be paid. Expenses incurred in the immediately following year may also qualify. If expenses were not deducted in the correct tax year, see How to change a return. Expenses incurred more than one year before, or more than one year after, the year in which the grant is received are not deductible from that grant.

Example 6

In anticipation of receiving an art production grant, a writer begins a project in May of a particular year (Year 1). The writer incurs various project-related expenses in June of that year. The writer receives notification of approval of the art production grant in September. Further expenses are incurred in November and December of Year 1. The grant funding is received in February of the following year (Year 2).

The art production expenses incurred in June of Year 1 are not deductible from the grant because they were incurred prior to the writer being notified of the grant. The expenses incurred in November and December of Year 1 are considered to be deductible from the art production grant in Year 2 when it is received and included in the recipient’s income.

1.73 For purposes of the art production grant exemption, the amount of reasonable expenses cannot include:

Example 7

Ted’s favourite recreational activity consists of turning metal into art creations in his garage. This year, he applied for, and received a $5,000 grant to create a metal art piece, to be displayed at a public park in Metropolis, a city 600 kilometres away. Ted worked on his art project in his garage; however, to complete his project, he had to travel to assemble and weld the pieces of his artwork at the display location in Metropolis. Given that he had to pay for accommodation in that locality, his common-law partner travelled with him to Metropolis to visit the area.

To produce the metal art piece, Ted spent a total of $2,000 to purchase metal sheets, welding wire, and other consumable material and supplies. He also paid $1,000 for a company to transport the metal art piece he had worked on to the display location. The municipality reimbursed him for that expense. When Ted travelled to Metropolis to assemble and complete the artwork, he incurred $1,500 in travel costs, including meals and lodging. He incurred an additional $800 in travel expenses for his common-law partner.

Discussion: The following expenses can be included in the calculation of Ted’s art production grant exemption under subsection 56(3):

  • $2,000 spent to purchase consumable materials and supplies that he used in his art production; and
  • $1,500 in travel costs (including meals and lodging) to assemble his artwork in Metropolis.

Ted cannot include any of the following expenses when calculating his art production grant exemption:

  • living expenses while working on his artwork at home;
  • expenses relating to his common-law partner’s travel ($800 in this case); these travel expenses are considered personal expenses; and
  • $1,000 to transport the metal art piece, for which he was reimbursed.

Assuming that in the year, Ted has not received any other art production grants, prizes or other amounts (such as a fellowship or scholarship) that are included in income pursuant to subparagraph 56(1)(n)(i), Ted will calculate his income from the art production grant as follows:

Calculation of income from the art production grant
Total income from art production grants, prizes, etc pursuant to subparagraph 56(1)(n)(i) $5,000
Less: Art production grant exemption
Metal sheets $2,000
Allowable travel costs $1,500
($3,500)
Less: Basic Scholarship exemption ($500)
Income to be reported under paragraph 56(1)(n) $1,000

Reporting

1.74 Under subsection 200(2) of the Regulations, every payer of a research grant, scholarship, fellowship, bursary, or prize (other than a prescribed prize), must report the amount on a T4A Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income and the related T4A Summary. This requirement also applies to a payer of an art production grant. The payer must report such amounts on a T4A slip even though the recipient may be entitled to exclude all or a portion of the amount from income because of one of the exemptions in subsection 56(3). It is the responsibility of the recipient to determine the amount of any exemption available under subsection 56(3).

1.75 Where an art production grant received by an artist or writer is neither business nor employment income to the recipient, the amount of the grant (net of the basic scholarship exemption and the art production grant exemption), will generally be reported on line 13010, Taxable scholarship, fellowships, bursaries, and artists' project grants, of the recipient’s income tax return. The total scholarship exemption computed under subsection 56(3) must not exceed the total amount used in computing the taxpayer’s income under subparagraph 56(1)(n)(i).

1.76  If the amount reported on the T4A is business income or employment income to the recipient, the full amount is reported as business or employment income, as appropriate, on the recipient’s income tax return.

1.77  Income tax does not have to be withheld at source from amounts that are included in calculating the recipient’s income under either of paragraphs 56(1)(n) or (o). For more information on the reporting requirements, see Guide RC4157, Deducting Income Tax on Pension and Other Income, and Filing the T4A Slip and Summary, T4A‑Information for payers and the information at Line 130 – Other Income of the T1 Income Tax and Benefit Guide.

Gifts and charitable donations in kind

1.78 Special rules may apply to gifts in kind made by artists and writers. When an artist or writer makes a gift of capital property, or when a visual artist makes a gift of property that is a work of art from their inventory, they may be entitled to a non-refundable donation tax credit under subsection 118.1(3). In certain cases, the artist or writer may also be entitled to a reduced income inclusion or reduced capital gain from the disposition of the property that was gifted.

1.79 The term gift is not defined in the Act, and therefore, it is necessary to refer to the applicable common or civil law for its meaning. Under the common law, a gift is a voluntary transfer of property from a donor to a donee for which no benefit or consideration flows to the donor. Under the Civil Code of Québec, a gift is a contract by which the donor transfers ownership of property to the donee by gratuitous title. In contrast to the common law, consideration received in connection with a gift will not necessarily invalidate the gift in civil law.

1.80 Relieving provisions in the Act provide that the receipt of a benefit or consideration (advantage) will not in and of itself disqualify the transfer as a gift for purposes of the charitable donation tax credit. The amount of the donation tax credit is determined using the eligible amount of the gift. The eligible amount of a gift is the excess of the fair market value (FMV) of the property transferred to a donee over the amount of the advantage provided in respect of the gift. Additional general information on determining whether a gift was made, determining any advantage or eligible amount, and other rules relating to donation tax credits is found in Income Tax Folio S7‑F1‑C1, Split‑receipting and Deemed Fair Market Value.

1.81 The rules regarding gifts in kind by artists and writers that are addressed in this Chapter may also apply to gifts made as a consequence of an individual’s death. A discussion of these rules is beyond the scope of this Chapter. This Chapter also does not discuss the additional tax rules that may apply when property is donated as part of a gifting arrangement or other type of gifting tax shelter. Information on the split-receipting rules involving gifting arrangements that are tax shelters can be found in Income Tax Folio S7‑F1‑C1.

1.82 When a visual artist creates a work of art with the intention of selling it but instead gifts it to another person, the gift is considered to be a disposition of a property from their inventory. An artist would generally be considered to have made a gift of capital property when the property gifted is property that would not normally be produced and sold in connection with their business. For a visual artist, this would include property such as diaries or correspondence. For writers, this would include property such as original manuscripts, letters, memoranda, or similar papers. Gifts of works of art from a visual artist’s inventory are discussed in ¶1.88 to 1.94. Gifts of capital property are discussed in ¶1.95 to 1.98.

1.83 A donation tax credit can be claimed in respect of the eligible amount of a charitable gift made to a registered charity or other qualified donee. The term total charitable gifts is defined in subsection 118.1(1). The terms registered charity and qualified donee are defined in subsections 248(1) and 149.1(1) respectively. The CRA webpage List of charities and other qualified donees describes the types of organizations that can be qualified donees.

1.84 Sometimes, an artist or writer may make a gift of a work of art that is certified cultural property. These gifts are described in the definition of total cultural gifts in subsection 118.1(1) and they receive special tax treatment. A certified cultural property is a property of outstanding significance to Canada, pursuant to paragraph 29(3)(b) of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, for which a certificate has been issued by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB). The CCPERB will also determine the FMV of the property during the certification process and include this on the certificate issued. To be eligible for the special tax treatment for gifts of certified cultural property, the property must be an object pursuant to the definition of total cultural gifts in subsection 118.1(1). Further, the object must be gifted to an institution or public authority in Canada that is designated under subsection 32(2) of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act at the time the gift is made.

1.85 To claim the special tax treatment available for gifts of certified cultural property, an individual must file the certificate issued by the CCPERB with their tax return for the tax year in which the gift was made. Where an individual is claiming a donation tax credit for the eligible amount of a gift of certified cultural property, they will also need to file the official donation receipt provided to them by the institution or public authority in Canada to which the gift was made. For more information on gifts of certified cultural property, see Pamphlet P113, Gifts and Income Tax. If filing electronically, taxpayers should keep the certificate and official donation receipt in case the CRA later asks to see them.

1.86 Generally, under the definition of total gifts in subsection 118.1(1), the eligible amount of charitable gifts to qualified donees that can be used in determining an individual’s donation tax credit is limited to 75% of the individual’s net income for the year in which the gift is made. This limit may be increased for gifts of capital property. Gifts of cultural property are not limited to a percentage of income. The eligible amount of charitable gifts made in a tax year can be carried forward and claimed on the individual’s return in any of the next five years. For more information on the donation tax credit limits and claiming a tax credit in respect of charitable gifts in a year other than the year in which the gifts were made, see Pamphlet P113.

1.87 A donation tax credit can only be claimed by an individual if the gift can be evidenced by filing a receipt containing prescribed information pursuant to Part XXXV of the Regulations. The official donation receipt will include the FMV or the deemed FMV of the property, depending on the circumstances. It will also show the eligible amount of the gift. For more information on the required content to be included on an official donation receipt, see Pamphlet P113. As explained in ¶1.85, gifts of certified cultural property must also be supported by filing a certificate issued by the CCPERB. If filing electronically, taxpayers should keep the certificate and official donation receipt in case the CRA later asks to see them.

Gifts from a visual artist’s inventory

1.88 As discussed in ¶1.82, an individual who is a visual artist carrying on an artistic business might make a gift of a work of art from their inventory. Subject to the comments in ¶1.89 and 1.94, the individual is deemed by subparagraph 69(1)(b)(ii) to have received proceeds of disposition for the work of art equal to its FMV at the time of the gift and that FMV must generally be included in the individual's income. However, where the work of art is disposed of by making a charitable gift to a qualified donee, the FMV of the work of art will also be used to calculate the eligible amount of the gift for purposes of claiming a donation tax credit.

1.89 A visual artist making a charitable gift of a work of art to a qualified donee may be able to make a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1). The amount designated under subsection 118.1(7.1) will be deemed to be the individual's proceeds of disposition in respect of the work of art, and the FMV for purposes of calculating the eligible amount of the gift that is eligible for the donation tax credit.

1.90 Under subsections 118.1(7) and (7.1), an individual will only be able to make a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) in respect of a charitable gift of a work of art to a qualified donee where:

1.91 An individual makes a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) by reporting their designated amount in their income tax return for the tax year in which the gift was made. A designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) is of no effect to the extent that the designated amount:

1.92 Subsection 118.1(7.1) also applies in respect of gifts of certified cultural property (see ¶1.84) where:

1.93 When subsection 118.1(7.1) applies to a gift of certified cultural property that meets the requirements in ¶1.92, no designation is required. The individual will be deemed to have received proceeds of disposition in respect of the work of art equal to the greater of its cost amount and the amount of any advantage received in respect of the gift. Consequently, provided no advantage is received in respect of the gift, no profit or loss will result from the disposition arising on the gift of the work of art by the individual. Where an advantage is received or enjoyed in respect of the gift of certified cultural property, the individual would include in computing business income from the disposition of the work of art the amount, if any, by which the advantage exceeds the individual's cost of the work of art.

1.94 Even though subsection 118.1(7.1) will deem the proceeds of disposition to be less than the FMV of the work of art being gifted, subsections 118.1(3) and (10) will still allow the FMV of the work of art established by the CCPERB to be used in determining the eligible amount of the gift for purposes of the donation tax credit, provided the requirements set out in ¶1.85 and 1.86 are met.

Example 8

The following examples illustrate the impact of making a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) in respect of a gift of a work of art from a visual artist’s inventory. The examples also illustrate the effect of an advantage being received in respect of a gift of a work of art. As explained in ¶1.80, where an advantage is received in respect of a gift, the eligible amount of the gift used in determining the donor’s donation tax credit is generally the excess of the FMV of the property being gifted over the amount of the advantage provided.

Scenario A: No advantage is received in respect of the gift

This example illustrates the impact of a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) when no advantage is received by a visual artist in respect of a gift of art from the visual artist’s inventory to a registered charity. 

Alex is in business as a visual artist. He has elected under subsection 10(6), which results in the cost of the paintings in his inventory being nil for income tax purposes.

Alex gifts a painting from his inventory to a museum that is a registered charity. The museum will auction the painting as part of a fundraiser. The painting has a fair market value (FMV) of $70,000 and is not certified cultural property. Alex makes no other gifts to qualified donees during the year.

Alex has income for tax purposes for the year in the amount of $20,000 before recognizing any income that may result from the disposition of the painting to the museum.

Alex is not required to make a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1). However, because the painting that is being gifted is not certified cultural property, subsection 118.1(7.1) will not automatically apply, so Alex will need to make the designation in his tax return if he wishes to have subsection 118.1(7.1) apply.

Question i:

What are the tax implications if Alex does not make a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1)?

Discussion:

  • Alex’s proceeds of disposition from the disposition of the painting to the museum would be deemed to be the $70,000 FMV of the painting.
  • Alex’s income for the year from the disposition of the painting from his inventory to the museum would be $70,000 ($70,000 – nil cost of inventory).
  • Alex’s total income for the year in which the painting is disposed of to the museum would be $90,000 ($70,000 from disposition of painting to museum + $20,000 other income).
  • The eligible amount of total charitable gifts made by Alex during the year would be the $70,000 FMV of the painting gifted to the museum because Alex received no advantage in respect of the gifted painting.
  • The maximum amount of total gifts as defined in subsection 118.1(1) that Alex can use to calculate his donation tax credits for the year in which the painting was gifted to the museum would be $67,500 (75% of $90,000).

Summary:

Where no advantage is received by Alex in respect of the gift of the painting to the museum and he makes no designation under subsection 118.1(7.1), Alex would have income for tax purposes of $90,000 for the year in which the painting was gifted. Since the maximum amount of total gifts that Alex can use to calculate the donation tax credit for that year is $67,500, Alex chooses to claim $67,500 of the $70,000 eligible amount gifted as total charitable gifts. The remaining eligible amount of charitable gifts of $2,500 ($70,000 – $67,500) that Alex did not claim in the year the gift is made, may be carried forward for up to five years and possibly be used to calculate a donation tax credit in one of those subsequent years.

Question ii:

What are the tax implications if Alex makes a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) to have his proceeds of disposition in respect of the gifted painting be $60,000?

Discussion:

  • Alex’s proceeds of disposition from the disposition of the painting to the museum would be deemed to be the designated amount under subsection 118.1(7.1) of $60,000.
  • Alex’s income for the year from the disposition of the painting from his inventory to the museum would be $60,000 ($60,000 designated amount – nil cost of inventory).
  • Alex’s total income for the year in which the painting is disposed of to the museum would be $80,000 ($60,000 from disposition of painting to museum + $20,000 other income).
  • The eligible amount of total charitable gifts made by Alex during the year would be the $60,000 designated amount under subsection 118.1(7.1) because Alex received no advantage in respect of the gifted painting.
  • The maximum amount of total gifts as defined in subsection 118.1(1) that Alex can use to calculate his donation tax credits for the year in which the painting was gifted to the museum would be $60,000 (75% of $80,000).

Summary:

Where no advantage is received by Alex in respect of the gift of the painting to the museum and he designates an amount of $60,000 under subsection 118.1(7.1) in respect of the gifted painting, Alex would have income for tax purposes of $80,000 for the year in which the painting was gifted. In this case, the eligible amount of charitable gifts ($60,000) made by Alex is the same as the maximum amount of total gifts ($60,000) that he could claim for purposes of the donation tax credit for the year in which the painting was gifted to the museum.

Question iii:

What would the tax implications be if the gift of the painting by Alex to the museum qualified as a gift of certified cultural property and was determined by CCPERB to have a FMV of $70,000?

Discussion:

  • If this were a gift of certified cultural property, subsection 118.1(7.1) would automatically apply.
  • Subsection 118.1(7.1) would deem Alex to have received proceeds of disposition equal to the greater of the cost amount of the painting in inventory (nil) and the amount of any advantage received in respect of the gift (nil).
  • Alex’s income for the year would be the $20,000 in other income because there would be nil proceeds of disposition and therefore no amount to include in his income as a result of the disposition of the painting.
  • The eligible amount of total cultural gifts made by Alex during the year would be the $70,000 FMV of the painting gifted to the museum because Alex received no advantage in respect of the gifted painting.
  • Because the gift is a gift of certified cultural property, the rule limiting Alex’s total charitable gifts to 75% of his income does not apply.

Summary:

Alex would be able to claim a donation tax credit in respect of the full $70,000 FMV of the painting. To the extent that only a portion of the $70,000 eligible amount of the gift is necessary for purposes of computing Alex’s donation tax credit to reduce federal tax payable to nil for the year in which the gift was made, the excess eligible amount of the cultural gift may be carried forward for up to 5 years and possibly be used to calculate a donation tax credit in one of those subsequent years.

Scenario B: An advantage is received in respect of the gift

This example illustrates how a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) applies when an advantage (see ¶1.80) is received by a visual artist in respect of a gift of art to a registered charity from the artist’s inventory.

Assume all the same facts as in Scenario A, except that Alex receives a lifetime membership to the museum in exchange for having donated the painting for the fundraising auction. The FMV of the lifetime membership is $2,000. This $2,000 membership is considered an advantage in respect of the gift of the painting by Alex to the museum and will reduce the eligible amount of the gift that Alex is considered to have made to the museum for purposes of the donation tax credit under section 118.1.

Question i:

What are the tax implications if Alex does not make a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1)?

Discussion:

  • Alex’s proceeds of disposition from the disposition of the painting to the museum would be deemed to be the $70,000 FMV of the painting.
  • Alex’s income for the year from the disposition of the painting from his inventory to the museum would be $70,000 ($70,000 – nil cost of inventory).
  • Alex’s total income for the year in which the painting is disposed of to the museum would be $90,000 ($70,000 from disposition of painting to museum + $20,000 other income).
  • The eligible amount of total charitable gifts made by Alex during the year would be $68,000 ($70,000 FMV of the painting – $2,000 advantage).
  • The maximum amount of total gifts as defined in subsection 118.1(1) that Alex can use to calculate his donation tax credits for the year in which the painting was gifted to the museum would be $67,500 (75% of $90,000).

Summary:

Where a $2,000 advantage is received by Alex in respect of the gift of the painting to the museum and he makes no designation under subsection 118.1(7.1), Alex would have income for tax purposes of $90,000 for the year in which the painting was gifted. Since the maximum amount of total gifts that Alex can use to calculate the donation tax credit for that year is $67,500, Alex chooses to claim $67,500 of the $68,000 eligible amount gifted as total charitable gifts. The remaining eligible amount of charitable gifts of $500 ($68,000 – $67,500) that Alex did not claim in the year the gift is made, may be carried forward for up to five years and possibly be used to calculate a donation tax credit in one of those subsequent years.

Question ii:

What are the tax implications if Alex makes a designation under subsection 118.1(7.1) to have his proceeds of disposition in respect of the gifted painting be $60,000?

Discussion:

  • Alex’s proceeds of disposition from the disposition of the painting to the museum would be deemed to be the designated amount under subsection 118.1(7.1) of $60,000.
  • Alex’s income for year from the disposition of the painting from his inventory to the museum would be $60,000 ($60,000 designated amount – nil cost of inventory).
  • Alex’s total income for the year in which the painting is disposed of to the museum would be $80,000 ($60,000 from disposition of painting to museum + $20,000 other income).
  • The eligible amount of total charitable gifts made by Alex during the year would be $58,000 ($60,000 designated FMV of the painting – $2,000 advantage).
  • The maximum amount of total gifts as defined in subsection 118.1(1) that Alex can use to calculate his donation tax credits for the year in which the painting was gifted to the museum would be $60,000 (75% of $80,000).

Summary:

Where a $2,000 advantage is received by Alex in respect of the gift of the painting to the museum and he designated an amount of $60,000 under subsection 118.1(7.1), Alex would have income for tax purposes of $80,000 for the year in which the painting was gifted. The eligible amount of Alex’s charitable gifts would be $58,000 ($60,000 designated FMV – $2,000 advantage).

Question iii:

What would the tax implications be if the gift of the painting by Alex to the museum qualified as a gift of certified cultural property and was determined by CCPERB to have a FMV of $70,000?

Discussion:

  • If this was a gift of certified cultural property, subsection 118.1(7.1) would automatically apply.
  • Subsection 118.1(7.1) would deem Alex to have received proceeds of disposition equal to the greater of the cost amount of the painting in inventory (nil) and the amount of any advantage received in respect of the gift ($2,000). 
  • The $2,000 in proceeds that Alex would be deemed to receive would result in income from the disposition of the painting equal to $2,000 ($2,000 proceeds of disposition – nil cost of inventory).
  • Alex’s income for the year in which the painting was gifted would be $22,000 ($2,000 advantage + $20,000 in other income).
  • The eligible amount of total charitable gifts made by Alex during the year would be $68,000 ($70,000 designated FMV of the painting – $2,000 advantage). Because the gift is a gift of certified cultural property, the rule limiting Alex’s total charitable gifts to 75% of his income does not apply.

Summary:

Alex would be able to claim a donation tax credit in respect of the eligible amount of the gift of $68,000 ($70,000 FMV – $2,000 advantage). To the extent that only a portion of the $68,000 eligible amount of the gift is necessary for purposes of calculating Alex’s donation tax credit to reduce to reduce federal tax payable to nil for the year in which the gift was made, the excess eligible amount of the cultural gift may be carried forward for up to five years and possibly be used to calculate a donation tax credit in one of those subsequent years.

Gifts of capital property by an artist or writer

1.95 Where an individual makes a gift of capital property that is certified cultural property (see ¶1.84), the gift will not result in a capital gain from the disposition of the property by virtue of subparagraph 39(1)(a)(i.1). Although there is no capital gain from the disposition, subsections 118.1(3) and (10) allow the individual to claim a donation tax credit based on the eligible amount of the gift. The eligible amount of the gift will be the amount by which the FMV of the certified cultural property, as established by the CCPERB, exceeds the amount of the advantage, if any, in respect of the gift (see ¶1.80). As indicated at ¶1.85 the donation tax credit claim must be evidenced by the certificate issued by the CCPERB and the official donation receipt provided to the individual by the recipient of the gift.

1.96 Where an individual makes a gift of capital property to a qualified donee and the property is not certified cultural property, the individual will generally realize a capital gain (or capital loss) on the disposition of the property. However, the individual may be able to claim a donation tax credit in respect of the eligible amount of the gift.

1.97 Subsection 118.1(6) may be beneficial to an individual who makes a gift of a capital property to a qualified donee. When such a gift is made and, at that time, the FMV of the capital property exceeds its adjusted cost base (ACB) (or, where the property is depreciable property, the FMV exceeds the lesser of its ACB and the undepreciated capital cost (UCC) of the class of property), the individual may designate an amount under subsection 118.1(6).

The designated amount must not be greater than the FMV and not less than the greater of:

1.98 The amount designated under subsection 118.1(6) is deemed to be both the proceeds of disposition to be used in calculating the donor's capital gain and the FMV of the gift for the purpose of determining the eligible amount of the gift that is eligible for the donation tax credit. The designation under subsection 118.1(6) allows for a reduction of the capital gain which would otherwise result from the application of the deemed disposition rule in paragraph 69(1)(b). For more information on gifts to qualified donees of capital property, including designations under 118.1(6), refer to Pamphlet P113.

Application

This Chapter, which may be referenced as S4-F14-C1, is effective October 9, 2020. This Chapter replaces and cancels Interpretation Bulletin IT‑257R, Canada Council Grants, Interpretation Bulletin IT‑504R2, Visual Artists and Writers, and Interpretation Bulletin IT‑525R, Performing Artists.

Any technical updates from these cancelled interpretation bulletins can be viewed in the Chapter History page.

Except as otherwise noted, all statutory references herein are references to the provisions of the Income Tax Act, R.S.C., 1985, c.1 (5th Supp.), as amended and all references to a Regulation are to the Income Tax Regulations, C.R.C., c. 945, as amended.

Links to jurisprudence are provided through CanLII.

Income Tax Folios are available in electronic format only.

Reference

Sections 9, and 67 to 67.5. Subsections 5(1), 10(1), (6) and (7), 18(1) and (12), 69(1), 70(5), 56(3), 118.6(1) and (6), 118.1(1), (3), (7), (7.1) and (10), 149.1(1), and 220(2.1). Paragraphs 8(1)(h), (j), (p) and (q), 13(7)(a) to (c), and 56(1)(n) and (o). Subparagraph 39(1)(a)(i.1). Sections 200, 4300, 4301, and 7700, subsections 200(2), 1100(2), and Parts XI, XVIII, and XXXV of the Regulations. The definition of passenger vehicle in subsection 248(1); qualified donee in subsection 149.1(1); and total cultural gifts, and total gifts in subsection 118.1(1). Paragraph 29(3)(b) of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-51.

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