Small Business, Taxes

Taxes (Canada): Internet Business Activities

There’s a new question on the tax forms this year:

How many Internet webpages or websites does your corporation earn income from?

Wasn’t very clear to me.

I list hosting and domain registration as separate expenses every year, but I have no direct revenue from the sale of “widgets” on the website (this blog excluded). I called Revenue Canada to clarify what they meant: do they want to see the websites I operate or just the ones I use to directly sell stuff? The answer was “List 0 (zero) website if you don’t sell anything off of them”.

Frankly, Revenue Canada is pretty nosy so I couldn’t believe it. I’ve sometimes called twice, three times with the same question, and each agent would have a different answer for me. The more elaborate answer was found at the Revenue Canada website. This is from their corporate return form but I assume it’s the same for partnerships/sole proprietorships:

You may earn income from your webpages or websites if:

  • you sell goods and/or services on your own pages or websites. You may have a shopping cart and process payment transactions yourself or through a third-party service;
  • your site doesn’t support transactions but your customers call, complete, and submit a form, or email you to make a purchase, order, booking, and others;
  • you sell goods and/or services on auction, marketplace, or similar websites operated by others; or
  • you earn income from advertising, income programs, or traffic your site generates. For example:
    • static advertisements you place on your site for other businesses
    • affiliate programs
    • advertising programs such as Google AdSense or Microsoft adCentre
    • other types of traffic programs.
  • Also file this schedule if you don’t have a website but you have created a profile or other page describing your business on blogs, auction, market place, or any other portal or directory websites from which you earn income.

Verdict: If you have an online profile for your business with a way to contact you, then yes, you must list the website(s).

Then there’s the next question:

What is the percentage of the corporation’s gross revenue generated from the Internet in comparison to the corporation’s total gross revenue?

This one you have to evaluate for yourself. Do you get most of your business via the website, referrals or some other way?