Are you a social media influencer? Have a look!

social media influencer

If you are a social media influencer you use social media platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, or a blog to make posts and build up followers of their content. A social media influencer who generates monetary and non-monetary income through social media may be carrying on business activities and earning business income.

Did you receive subscriptions and perks like merchandise and trips or other income?

If you earned income by posting pictures, videos and more on your social media channels that involves product placement or product promotion, you may be undertaking a business activity. You can earn income from your social media activities in many ways, both monetary and non-monetary (barter transactions), including, but not limited to:

  • subscriptions to your channel(s)
  • advertising (clickbait and brand advertisements)
  • sponsorships
  • calls to action
  • merchandise sales or commission on sales
  • tips
  • perks such as products, clothes, trips or other gifts
  • referral codes
social media influencer

Income tax implications

If you are carrying on a business through your social media channels, you must report the income (both monetary and non-monetary) that you earn through these activities on your income tax return. When reporting non-monetary income, you must use the fair market value of the item received. The CRA will generally consider your social media activities to be business activities where there is an element of profit to your activities.

GST/HST implications

If there is a reasonable expectation of profit from your online activities, and your total taxable supplies are more than $30,000 over four calendar quarters, you will need to register for, collect and pay to the CRA the goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) on all taxable sales from your online activities. You can get more details on GST/HST registration requirements at Find out if you must register for a GST/HST account.

Business expenses

If the income you earn from social media activities is considered business income, you may be able to deduct eligible business expenses to reduce your tax owing. To be deductible, expenses must relate directly to your business activities as social media influencers. Your expenses must be reasonable, not personal in nature and you should be able to substantiate them. To learn what qualifies as an eligible business expense, go to Business expenses. In addition, the amount you can deduct in a year for an expense depends if it is considered a current year expense or capital expense. For more information, go to Current or capital expenses.

How to correct your tax affairs

If you did not report your income from platform sales and social media activities, you may have to pay penalties and interest in addition to the tax on the unreported income. By correcting your tax affairs voluntarily, you may avoid or reduce penalties and interest.

To correct your tax affairs (including corrections to GST/HST returns) and report income that you did not report in previous years, you may:

More information

You can find more information on this topic at Canada.ca/platform-economy.

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