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Tax Considerations for E-Commerce Business Owners

E-commerce retail revenue is expected to reach almost 29 billion Canadian dollars by 2021. This is a considerable portion of the Canadian economy, and the same is also true on a global scale. So what tax implications should you bear in mind if you’re an e-commerce entrepreneur?

Sales Tax & Customs Duty

Because e-commerce businesses are particularly likely to deal across provinces, it’s critical that you know when and how to charge GST, HST, PST, and QST. If you sell taxable goods to clients in other provinces, you will typically need to collect sales tax in accordance with the province to which the goods are being delivered. Many e-commerce platforms, as well as the advice of an experienced business accountant, can help you execute this the right way. Meanwhile, if you deal with clients internationally, it’s a good idea to make sure that they are aware of any customs duty that will be charged upon import of your goods.

Your E-Commerce Website

Building and operating an e-commerce website is a process that incurs expenses, and you’ll naturally want to know which ones you can deduct. The CRA will deem different aspects of the site to be either a current deductible expense or a capital expense claimable under the capital cost allowance system (something you may remember from this article). Many software, hardware, labour, and consulting expenses will be considered capital expenses, while others may be deductible for the year that you paid them. It’s often a case-by-case issue, and the right CPA can help you secure your deductions properly.

Taking Responsibility

Whether it’s big or small, an e-commerce business is just as obligated to abide by applicable tax laws as a company with a brick-and-mortar presence. The CRA is diligent in taking measures to keep online enterprises in compliance, so hoping for special exceptions or loopholes isn’t wise. As with any company, it’s of the utmost importance to keep consistent, detailed, and accurate records. Consider using a well-respected e-commerce platform like Shopify or Magento, which will help to ensure proper calculation of sales tax and other factors. Speak with a business tax expert who can advise you based on your needs and circumstances.

Whether you run an online retail shop or you own a franchise of restaurants, a skilled and attentive CPA is one of your greatest assets for financial success. Cook & Company is the Calgary business accounting firm you can always depend on, so call (403) 398-2486 today.

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