Social media influencers use social media platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, or a blog to make posts and build up followers of their content. When posting is a source of income, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers it a business activity.
Did you receive subscriptions, gifts, donations or other income?
If you earned income through similar circumstances, such as posts of pictures, videos and more on social media platforms that involve product placement or product promotion, you are considered to be undertaking a business activity. You can earn income in many ways, both monetary and non-monetary, including, but not limited to:
- subscriptions to your channel(s)
- advertising (clickbait and brand advertisements)
- merchandise sales or commission on sales
- tips or donations
- free perks such as products, clothes, trips
Income tax implications
All income (both monetary and non-monetary) that you earn through social media channels must be reported on your income tax return.
There may be a reasonable expectation of profit from your online activities, and your total taxable supplies may be more than $30,000 over four calendar quarters. If so, 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.
Since the income you make from social media is considered business income, you can deduct business expenses to reduce your tax owing. Your expenses must be reasonable and directly related to your income as a social media influencer. You must report these expenses on your income tax return. To learn what qualifies as an eligible business expense, go to Business 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 tax, penalties and interest on the income. By correcting your tax affairs voluntarily, you can 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:
- Ask for a change to your income tax and benefit return
- Adjust a GST/HST return
- Apply for a correction through the Voluntary Disclosures Program