Corporate tax

E-commerce has transformed the way we do business. In Canada, as elsewhere in the world, it has created new opportunities for entrepreneurs, enabling them to sell products, provide services, and reach customers beyond traditional geographical boundaries. However, with these opportunities also come complex and significant tax responsibilities.

Whether you're running a small online store or an international sales platform, or simply considering entering the world of e-commerce, understanding the tax implications is essential to the success of your business.

In this article, our business taxation experts present a comprehensive guide to e-commerce tax in Canada.

E-commerce in Canada

Electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce or ecommerce, has revolutionized the way companies interact with their customers and conduct business. Before exploring the tax implications, let’s take a look at what e-commerce is in Canada and its importance to the economy.

Types of e-commerce

E-commerce encompasses all commercial activities that take place via computer networks, beyond simple online purchases. E-commerce can take many forms, including:

  • Online product sales: From the sale of physical goods to subscription services, online businesses offer a diverse range of products to Canadian and international consumers.
  • Online services: From software maintenance services to Internet advertising, online services are a major component of e-commerce.
  • Electronic transactions: From online payments to Internet banking, electronic transactions simplify life for both consumers and businesses.

Understanding e-commerce tax laws

In this dynamic environment, e-commerce businesses need to understand the tax laws that apply to them. Tax obligations do not depend on the sales channel, but on how a company is structured from a legal and tax point of view.

Failure to comply with tax rules can have costly consequences for online businesses. That's why you need to familiarize yourself with the general and specific e-commerce tax laws in Canada.

To help you make sense of how e-commerce taxation in Canada works, find out what our tax accountants have to say!

How do I declare income from an online business?

For e-commerce businesses in Canada, it takes a thorough understanding of corporate tax returns to succeed in this rapidly expanding sector.

E-commerce tax obligations

E-commerce companies are subject to the same tax laws as traditional businesses. As mentioned above, tax obligations are determined by the legal and tax structure of the business. Online business owners need to understand the main requirements that apply to them, including:

  • The obligation to collect and remit sales tax (GST/HST): If your e-commerce business revenues exceed $30,000 per year, you must register for a GST/HST number and charge sales tax to Canadian customers, according to the rate of the destination province.
  • Reporting income: Whether you're incorporated, the owner of a partnership or self-employed, you must accurately report your business income to comply with tax laws.

E-commerce tax returns differences according to company structure

Your company's legal business structure directly influences how you declare your income. Here's how it works:

  • Corporations: If your business is incorporated, you will need to file Schedule 88, Internet Business Activities, in addition to your T2 income tax return. This schedule collects specific information about your company's online activities.
  • Partnerships: Partnerships generally do not have to report income from online activities separately. However, be sure to keep accurate records just in case.
  • Self-employed: If you are self-employed, you must complete the appropriate section of your personal income tax forms (T1), such as the T2125 Statement of Business of Professional Activities, in which you can declare your income from web pages or sites.

Declaring revenue from web pages or sites

When you operate web pages or websites that generate revenue, you have to declare that revenue correctly. List the addresses of the pages or websites that generate income. For the top five revenue-generating addresses, specify the percentage of your total gross revenue. If you can't determine the exact percentage, a reasonable estimate is acceptable.

Capital cost allowance may apply to the cost of systems software or website design. These costs may be considered current or capital expenditures, depending on the circumstances.

For more information, contact our team today!

Capital cost allowance for e-commerce

Capital cost allowance is a mechanism for spreading the capital cost of an asset over several years, according to its useful life. For e-commerce companies, it can be applied to systems software costs and web site design costs, under certain conditions.

Key points to remember about capital cost allowance for e-commerce include:

  • Spreading capital costs: Rather than deducting the full initial cost of the asset, capital cost allowance allows you to spread it over several years, reducing your annual tax burden.
  • Depreciation categories: Eligible assets can be classified into different depreciation categories. Systems software and website design costs are generally classified in specific categories.

Amortization categories for system software costs

It is possible to amortize systems software costs by putting them in a specific category. Here are the main amortization categories to choose from:

  • Category 12: Systems software costs generally fall into category 12, which covers general-purpose software. This class allows capital cost allowance at the prescribed rate.
  • Category 8, 10, 29 or 40: In some cases, systems software may fall into one of these categories, depending on what it is and how you use it. Choosing the right category will optimize your tax deduction.

Website design costs and e-commerce tax

As far as website design costs are concerned, whether they are treated as capital or current costs depends on the circumstances. Here are some key considerations:

  • Capital costs: If website design costs are considered capital costs, you can amortize them over several years. This can reduce the amount of income tax you have to pay each year.
  • Current costs: If website design costs are considered current expenses, you can fully deduct them in the year they are incurred, which can offer immediate tax benefits.

We recommend that you consult a tax expert or corporate accountant to ensure that you comply with the tax rules specific to your company.

Learn more about e-commerce business tax with T2inc

E-commerce tax in Canada is constantly evolving, as is the online business environment. At T2inc, our experts are specially trained to provide you with sound advice and tax strategies tailored to your specific situation. We understand that every business is unique, which is why we're committed to providing you with personalized expertise.

Whether you need to understand special rules that apply to your online business or determine the capital cost allowance you're entitled to, our team is ready to support you every step of the way.

Contact us today!

Frédéric Roy-Gobeil


As President of T2inc.ca and an entrepreneur at heart, I have founded many start-ups such as delve Labs and T2inc.ca. A former tax specialist at Ernst & Young, I am also a member of the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés CPA and have a master's degree in taxation from the Université de Sherbrooke. With a passion for the world of entrepreneurship and the growth mindset, I have authored numerous articles and videos on the industry and the business world, as well as on accounting, taxation, financial statements and financial independence.

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