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Tax Tips for Artists

Navigating this Tax Season

We would like to thank all artists who participated in our survey about filing your 2020 taxes! The questions gathered during these sessions will be considered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in its ongoing communications efforts, and your responses have helped CARFAC to frame the development of new resources for artists working in all disciplines.

As a result of your feedback, we are pleased to present a pre-recorded question-and-answer session about the 2021 filing season with the CRA, which includes such information as:

  • How to report CERB income
  • Benefits you may be eligible for
  • Expenses that artists may claim
  • Methods for bookkeeping
  • The free Liaison Officer advice service for owners of small businesses
  • And more!

ASL interpretation is provided in the video, and additional accessible materials may be provided upon request.

If you would like to provide feedback on the video, please fill out a brief survey from CRA.

Please note that the information provided in the video is not meant to replace advice from a tax professional, and you can find the most up-to-date information through the CRA.

While we could not address everyone’s questions with this video, additional resources are in development, and they will be available soon. Additionally, some survey participants may be contacted for further information and assistance.

If you still have questions, you can get in touch with CARFAC, or contact the union or association representing artists in your discipline, who may have additional resources.

Watch CRA’s tax-related videos on YouTube.


Tax tips for artists:

In 2020, CRA revised its income tax bulletins for visual artists, writers, and performing artists, and replaced it with Income Tax Folio S4-F14-C1, Artists and Writers. It provides invaluable information to help you plan your taxes.

Generator offers a useful Artist Finances blog with articles on a range of topics, including reporting grants and financial literacy resources.

For visual artists, CARFAC has an Advisory Note, Preparing for your tax return, which offers a pre-2020 summary of common items claimed as revenues and expenses in an artist’s business. A more detailed guide to planning your taxes, donating art, and declaring grant income is coming soon.

If you are a writer, the Writers’ Union of Canada has published Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Taxes.

If you are a performing artist that occasionally works in the United States, here is some information about US Tax Withholding/Reporting: Artists From Abroad : Tax Requirements.

Did you get a grant? The Canada Council for the Arts offers useful information, Income Taxes and Your Grant. Check your provincial or territorial arts council for further information.


Additional information from CRA

For more information on tax filing this season, here are some tips and links from the CRA to help simplify the filing experience, and to help eligible applicants receive the benefits, credits, and deductions they are entitled to. Remember, the deadline for most Canadians to file is April 30, 2021.

Home Office Expenses for employees

Home office expenses for employees

Calculate your expenses

Information for Self-employed individuals

The deadline for self-employed individuals and their spouse/common-law partner to file is June 15, 2021.

 What’s new for small businesses and self-employed

Small Business and self-employed income

Liaison Officer service – The CRA offers a free Liaison Officer service to owners of small businesses to help them understand their tax obligations.


Filing your return this year: what do you need to know?

COVID-19 benefits and your taxes

The CRA offers helpful tax tips here and here, and a list of common questions and answers about filing your taxes this year.

Government of Canada addresses CERB repayments for self-employed individuals and announces interest relief on 2020 income tax debt due to COVID-19 related income support

Personal income tax: Who should file a tax return, how to get ready for taxes, filing and payment due dates, reporting your income and claiming deductions, and how to make a payment or check the status of your refund. Personal income tax: What’s new for 2020?

Information about My Account for individuals

File your taxes online: Certified tax software

Do you file your taxes on paper? Paper filing may delay your assessment

Can I file my tax return by phone?

Seniors: Tips to help you this tax season!

Tax information for Indigenous peoples

Students: Put more money in your pocket with benefits and credits!

Tax preparers and professionals: Here’s what you need to know for the 2021 tax-filing season

Stay connected

To receive updates on what is new at the CRA, you can:


This project has been made possible with support from the Canada Council of the Arts, and in collaboration with the Government of Canada.