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Holiday Gifts and Awards - Know the tax implications before Gift-Giving

Updated: Apr 9


CRA rules for Business-related gift giving and receiving can be confusing. It is the responsibility of all small business owners to fully understand the tax implications and to keep proper records of such expenses.

For a clear explanation of these policies and terms, and how they impact bookkeeping, register for ProStrata-G's presentation: Gifts and Awards - Understanding CRA Tax Guidelines.

ACCEPTING GIFTS FROM CLIENTS

Gifts from clients cannot be given in exchange for work completed. If a gift can be construed as payment for goods or services, you are responsible for declaring the gift as income on your taxes.


GIVING GIFTS TO CLIENTS

Dependent on the intent of the gift, 50-100% of the expense may be deductible.

A gift that is intended as promotional or advertising can be 100% expensed. Gift Certificates or payment for meals or entertainment can be expensed at 50%


GIVING GIFTS AND AWARDS TO EMPLOYEES

CRA has categorized all gifts, and each category has it’s own guidelines.


GIFTS - Has to be for a special occasion


AWARDS - Has to be for an employment-related accomplishment


REWARDS - Given to your employees for performance-related reasons


LONG-SERVICE AWARDS - Given as recognition of anniversary date


“OTHER” EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CATEGORIES

Any gift or recognition given to an employee that falls outside the common gift and award policies such as:


SOCIAL EVENTS - A free party or other social event for all your employees


HOSPITALITY - Any business function open to vendors, clients and employees


SOCIAL COMMITTEE PRIZE DRAWS/GIFTS - Employee-run, Employer-run, Joint-run


LOYALTY AND OTHER POINTS PROGRAMS - Airmiles, cash back credit cards, etc (understanding guidelines for Loyalty Points)


BOOKKEEPING TIPS FOR EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

It should be noted that CRA has recently changed policies regarding Loyalty Points and redemption, and eligibility for gifts and receipts for family members. Higher scrutiny in these categories will be exercised by CRA auditors. Be sure your bookkeeping is reflective of the CRA tax compliance guidelines.


• Include any GST/HST that applies in the value of the benefit.


• Payroll deductions - If the benefit is taxable, it is also pensionable. Deduct CPP contributions and income tax. If the taxable benefit is paid in cash, it is insurable. Deduct EI premiums. If it is a non-cash benefit, it is not insurable. Do not deduct EI premiums.


• Always keep receipts - Credit cards and bank statements are not receipts! Keep til receipts and purchase orders, etc. No receipt, no deduction.


• Make notes on receipts - Record the nature of expense and recipient.


• Enter expense under “Employee Gifts” category - stay up to date with your records


• Use the memo field - imagine you will be looking at this expense 10 months from now. Will you remember all the details? Leaving notes is the key to keeping sanity and saving headache later.


PRINTABLE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS CHART


ProStrata-G would like to answer your complicated bookkeeping questions. If your small business has been struggling to find answers for your unique business structure, leave a brief comment below. If we are able to help address your small business concern, we’d like to feature your story in our next article.

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