Disclaimer: The information provided in this post uses accounting standards for private enterprises and Canada Revenue Agency tax legislation. This post is meant for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute tax or accounting advice.
A few weeks ago, I put out the call on Cowgirl Runs for your accounting and taxation questions. Over the next few weeks (as we get closer and closer to the Canadian April 30 tax deadline) I’ll be answering your questions on the blog. As always, if you have a specific question regarding accounting or tax treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact me so we can chat more about it.
Blogging Conferences and Taxes
(I’ve referenced a blogging conference, but this treatment will be applicable for any conference attended, so long as it relates to your work or job – ie. a way you earn money)
Typically, when you attend a conference there are a few different costs involved:
I’m going to break down each of these categories and how you would treat it in terms of tax.
The Income Tax Act permits costs associated with attending a conference (or convention) to be deducted providing it was in connection with the taxpayer’s business or professional practice (source). For example, a health and fitness blogger likely won’t be able to deduct amounts (registration, travel, etc) for a technology based conference.
You are also limited in deducting the costs to attend a maximum of two conferences per taxation (calendar) year. If you are planning on attending multiple conferences, you may only deduct associated costs of two conferences on your tax return. You are also not permitted to carry forward any expenses not deducted in the year.
All reasonable travel fees are eligible to be deducted as part of attending a conference. These fees may include:
- vehicle mileage (varies per province per year)
- airport parking fees
Any meals consumed on travel days will be subject to the 50% rule.
Additionally, expenses are only able to be deducted for the person attending the conference. Reimbursement of a spouse, or friend’s travel would be considered to be a taxable benefit to the spouse/friend, and would not be eligible to be deducted by the person/company paying the expense.
All reasonable lodging fees are eligible to be deducted as part of attending a conference for the duration of the conference, only.
Any additional days spent would not be eligible for deduction on the tax return.
As many bloggers will bunk with other bloggers for conferences, you may only deduct your portion of the related room expenses, even if you pay for the room and have the other roomies reimburse you.
The rules for deducting food expenses at a conference are the same as previously discussed. Only 50% of the costs incurred that related to food and entertainment may be deducted. Alternatively, if you are at a conference where the fee includes food and entertainment (outside of incidental refreshments) and the amount related to food is not indicated in the fee, an amount of $50/day is deemed to be the amount paid in respect to food, beverages and entertainment (ITA 67.1(3)). This $50/day amount is also subject to the 50% rule.
This would mean the actual fee incurred for the conference would be determined as follows: Total Registration less (conference days x $50) = Related conference amount.
Confused? Not to worry, here’s an example for you!
My American friends can take a peek at this link as it provides some guidance on the deductibility of meals while travelling for business. One of my longish term goals is to write an exam so I can obtain some US Tax knowledge and help out both Canadians and Americans.
Additional amounts may be deducted provided they directly relate to the conference.
For example, you cannot attend a conference in Anaheim and deduct the cost of attending DisneyLand unless you work in the theme park industry.
Any promotional items received by attending the conference are not required to be included in income as they are deemed to be advertising by the vendors.Have you attended a conference in 2016? Here's how you should treat it for tax!Click To Tweet