Editors note: This article was prepared by the Canada Revenue Agency.
From Robert Pattinson vamping it up on the Vancouver set of Twilight, to Catherine Zeta-Jones showcasing her best jazz hands on Toronto’s Chicago soundstage, to the remote Newfoundland backdrop punctuating Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of a columnist in The Shipping News, some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters are filmed in the “Great White North”. Home to premiere international film festivals, Toronto and Vancouver are ranked third and fourth, respectively, in size for state-of-the-art media production facilities, in all of North America. It’s no wonder Hollywood North continues to attract domestic and foreign productions alike.
So you’ve just landed a plum part in a TV show or movie…it’s not just about getting into character or knowing your lines; your role also requires familiarizing yourself with your unique tax situation as an actor.
In general, actors are considered self-employed and may deduct reasonable expenses incurred to earn income. This means all those dollars spent to get yourself out there—including acting classes, head shots, hair and makeup for public appearances, travel expenses for out-of-town gigs and auditions, union dues, even your agent’s commission—could pay off at tax time! Remember to keep your receipts and supporting documents for six years after you file your income tax and benefit return in case the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asks to see them later. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/selfemployed and select “Business expenses.”
Don’t wrap up tax season with a surprise ending—plan ahead to avoid an unexpected tax bill. It’s good practice to put aside money regularly to pay any tax owing at the end of the year. This is especially true if tax was not withheld at source on your acting income. If you are one of the many actors who supplement their income with part?time work, you can also opt to have more tax deducted from your employment income by completing Form TD1, Personal Tax Credits Return and giving it to your employer.
You also have the option of making payments year-round to the CRA through pre-authorized debit (PAD) agreement. Using a PAD, taxpayers registered in the online service called My Account or My Business Account can authorize the CRA to make withdrawals of pre-determined amounts, on pre-determined dates, from their account at a Canadian financial institution. No need to leave the set to make a payment, because it’s already arranged! For other payment options, go to www.cra.gc.ca/payments.
You can also stay up-to-date by receiving your notice of assessment online! Register for online mail through the CRA’s My Account or My Business Account available at www.cra.gc.ca/electronicservices.
Tax rules and obligations for non-resident actors are different than those for those actors on home soil, but are equally important. For information on non-residents providing acting services in Canada, go to www.cra.gc.ca/nonresidentactors.
There’s no business like show business, but it’s everyone’s business to understand their tax obligations. The deadline to file your individual income tax and benefit return and pay any amount owing is April 30, 2015. If you are self-employed, you have until June 15, 2015 to file your return. However, if you’re self-employed and have a balance owing for 2014, you still have to pay it on or before April 30, 2015.
Waiting for a call back can sometimes be agonizing, but doing your taxes doesn’t have to be! To get started, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.
Don’t miss the latest CRA news and tax tips—follow the CRA on Twitter: @CanRevAgency