June 2020 Newsletter

The March 2019 federal Budget introduced various forms of assistance to Canadian journalism organizations, in light of the massive consumer shift away from paper newspapers to online publications. These have now been enacted and are in effect.

First, there is a digital news subscription tax credit, running from 2020 through 2024 (though of course it could be extended). This is a 15% credit for subscriptions you pay for, for costs up to $500 per year (i.e., up to $75 total credit per year). The organization must be approved as a “qualified Canadian journalism organization”, meeting certain conditions. The CRA will publish a list of qualifying subscriptions.

Of course, if you’re self-employed in a field where you can justify needing the subscription for business reasons, you’re better to treat the cost as a deductible business expense. But if you can’t do that, a 15% credit does reduce the net cost for you somewhat.

Second, non-profit journalism organizations can effectively qualify as charities for tax purposes. They do not actually become registered charities; instead, a QCJO that meets additional conditions can become a “registered journalism organization” (RJO), which will essentially be treated the same as a charity, and will be exempt from income tax. Most notably, donations to an RJO will qualify for the charitable donation tax credit, typically worth about 40-50% to you (depending on your province of residence), once your total donations exceed $200 per year.

Third, a QCJO that meets certain conditions can receive a tax credit from the government, subsidizing 25% of the organization’s “qualifying labour expenditures” for eligible newsroom employees. The credit is “refundable”, meaning that even if the organization does not make a profit so it pays no tax, the CRA will pay the credit to the organization.

Last modified on June 23, 2020 12:00 am
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