Statement from CARFAC about artists facing CRA audits

May 4, 2018 News Comments Off on Statement from CARFAC about artists facing CRA audits

As the date for filing taxes approached earlier this week, artists across Canada were alarmed to hear that artist Steve Higgins is being audited by the CRA.

On one hand, it’s not surprising that artists may be scrutinized by CRA. You are more likely to be at risk for assessment if you are self-employed, if you regularly report a business loss, or if your income varies considerably from year to year.

However, the circumstances of this audit are of unique concern because it appears that CRA declares his practice is a personal endeavor, or hobby, rather than a business. This is based on their assertion that income generated from grants, honorariums, and awards rather than sales of art are not eligible to claim related expenses against. This decision is worrisome for several reasons. Firstly, CRA bulletin IT-504R2 states factors used to determine if an artist has a reasonable expectation of profit and has achieved professional status. Mr. Higgins adequately proved he meets these criteria. Moreover, the disregard of public funding as an eligible income source from which expenses can be deducted not only shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how contemporary artists work in Canada, but it is inconsistent with CRA’s own advice on Artists’ Project Grants.

CARFAC is providing Mr. Higgins with assistance during his appeal process because the potential for his case setting a precedent for all artists is untenable. We are now aware that other artists have been audited or reassessed recently for a variety of reasons, and we are working to determine if there are any other worrisome trends. We invite artists to contact us if they have experienced an audit from CRA recently, so that we can gain a greater understanding of the issue.

On a larger advocacy front, the Canadian Arts Coalition has formed an Artist Taxation Working group which is writing a letter to the Minister of National Revenue about our concerns regarding recent audits of Canadian artists, and to request a review of policies that affect artists as it relates to taxation. We will help people who want to get involved by writing to their MP and relevant ministers – details to come soon. We also hope to convene a meeting of National Arts Service Organizations and other stakeholders to talk about taxation policy issues, so that we may bring forward meaningful recommendations for change, such as income averaging, or tax breaks on grants, awards, and copyright royalties.

We are hopeful that Mr. Higgins has a positive outcome in his appeal process, and that his experience is an unfortunate anomaly rather than a change in direction at CRA. We also hope that the discussions coming out of this situation will lead to positive policy change for all artists.


In solidarity,

April Britski,

National Executive Director, CARFAC and Co-chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition’s Artist Taxation Working Group.

CARFAC and RAAV Members to vote on renewal of scale agreement with the National Gallery of Canada

March 27, 2018 News Comments Off on CARFAC and RAAV Members to vote on renewal of scale agreement with the National Gallery of Canada

In January and March of 2018, negotiation teams from CARFAC, RAAV and the National Gallery of Canada met about the terms of our scale agreement, first signed in 2015. The results of these meetings were successful, and we have come to a tentative 4-year agreement that sees changes and gains for artists who are engaged by the gallery.

Now we need members of CARFAC and RAAV to vote on this agreement so that it can be made official.

Not a member? Not a problem! You can join through your provincial office or partner. Join by April 27, and you can cast your vote on the proposed minimum fees paid to artists by the National Gallery of Canada.

For artists in Québec, the ratification process will be managed by le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec – RAAV.

In early April, all CARFAC members in good standing will receive a letter and an email providing more details about the agreement and voting process. If you don’t receive this by April 20, please contact us as soon as possible to check that we have your correct contact information.

All members of CARFAC and RAAV, whether you have worked with the National Gallery or not, are encouraged to vote for three reasons:

1. We want your input
2. A minimum voter turnout is required for the agreement to be valid
3. This agreement serves as an example for other galleries so that all artists will benefit from improved working conditions

CARFAC/RAAV conclude negotiations with the National Gallery of Canada for scale agreement renewal

March 14, 2018 Media Releases , National Gallery , News Comments Off on CARFAC/RAAV conclude negotiations with the National Gallery of Canada for scale agreement renewal

Ottawa, Ontario, March 14, 2018 –

Canadian Artists’ Representation / Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) and the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV) are pleased to announce that they have concluded negotiations with the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) on March 14th.

CARFAC and RAAV are certified under the federal Status of the Artist Act to negotiate scale agreements on behalf of visual and media artists with federal institutions such as the NGC. We negotiated a three-year agreement in 2015, and we have reached a new tentative agreement for the next four years. The agreement covers terms and conditions for the exhibition and reproduction of works of art, as well as the provision of professional services by living Canadian artists.

Members of CARFAC, RAAV and the National Gallery of Canada’s negotiation teams

This tentative agreement was reached following five days of intense negotiations in Ottawa. Parties will recommend approval of this agreement to the NGC’s Board of Trustees and to CARFAC/RAAV’s membership. Details about the agreement and how to participate in the ratification vote will be available shortly.

Co-Chairs of the CARFAC/RAAV Negotiation team, Karl Beveridge and Pierre Tessier observed that the negotiation process was both open and creative to some of the problems that existed in the agreement, and will be of benefit to artists and the National Gallery of Canada.

Has the artist been paid? Mais avez-vous payé l'artiste?