CRA not told about side-hustle income by many Canadians

9 million Canadians in the gig economy, but almost 30% not declaring all their income

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In these tough economic times, the ranks of Canadians taking on a side hustle to make ends meet is rising.

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A new study from tax experts H&R Block Canada Inc found 28 per cent or nearly 9 million Canadians are now doing so-called “gig work,” up from 13 per cent in 2022.

Another 12 per cent are considering it.

The reasons seem obvious. As the cost of living and interest rates have risen over these past few years, more Canadians are finding their incomes stretched to the breaking point.

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In the H&R survey, almost three in four respondents said the higher cost of living is making it hard to afford everyday expenses and 24 per cent are struggling to pay their bills.

So whether it’s freelance work, dog walking, home repair or delivery services or even just selling your stuff on marketplace platforms, “a huge contingent of Canadians report taking on gig work to boost their income,” said the report.

For the vast majority, 72 per cent, gig work is a second income to their day job, and 58 per cent report taking it on because of financial pressures.

However, when it comes to declaring that extra income, the study reveals that a significant number of the gig workers are willing to take risks, said H&R Block.

Almost 30 per cent of the workers said they didn’t declare all of their gig income when they filed their taxes last year.

As the deadline for this year’s tax filing approaches, almost half, 43 per cent, say they’re willing to take the risk of not declaring all their gig income. A further 32 per cent say they will risk not declaring any of this extra income.

“While Canadians’ appear tempted to not declare all or any gig-related income, this carries major risks. Ultimately, it’s breaking the law,” said Yannick Lemay, a tax expert for H&R Block Canada.

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“The Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec can audit workers up to six years after the year they receive the income.”

And those risks are rising.

H&R Block says new rules that require digital platform operators such as Uber, Instacart, Airbnb and Etsy to report income made by individual participants will be implemented during the 2025 season. But some may already be reporting to the CRA.

The good news is there are loads of deductions and credits gig workers can claim, though the survey also revealed that one in four workers don’t have a clear understanding of the tax implications of their side-hustle.

Depending on what the work is, Canadians can claim expenses for their car, software subscriptions, home office, phone and internet bills, shipping costs and more.

H&R Block says because gig workers don’t get T4s, it’s important to maintain detailed records of income and expenses annually and keep them for six years.

Since money is not automatically deducted from your paycheque you should set aside funds to pay your income taxes and if you make more than $3,500, Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan.

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If you make more than $30,000 you must register for a GST/HST/QST number.

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National Bank of Canada

Business closures are climbing to multi-year highs, while new business openings are slowing, bringing on the first decline in active businesses in Canada, outside of the pandemic, since 2017, says National Bank of Canada economist Stéfane Marion.

The number of active businesses fell to 929,000 in December, down 0.2 per cent from a year ago. In 2017, much of the decline was in energy-producing provinces, but as Marion’s chart shows, in December the weakness was more wide-spread, with eight out of 10 provinces reporting declines.

“Outside of the COVID recession, this is the worst diffusion since at least 2016,” said Marion.

  • Ontario government presents its budget.
  • Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers will give a speech in Halifax on the urgent need to improve Canadian productivity.
  • National Bank Financial Markets will hold its annual financial services conference in Montreal today and Wednesday. Top executives from the country’s big financial institutions gather to offer their perspectives for the year.
  • Canada’s tech community will gather at the CIX Summit in Toronto today and Wednesday to hear leaders in the sector speak about their businesses. Among those on the agenda is Dax Dasilva, the founder of Lightspeed Commerce, who returned to the helm of the Montreal-based company in February on a mission to boost its stock price.
  • Today’s Data: United States durable goods orders, S&P CoreLogic CS U.S. home price index, Conference Board consumer confidence
  • Earnings: McCormick & Co

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Financial Post

A century ago the mutual fund was invented, giving lower- and middle-class people an ownership stake in capitalism. Mutual funds now manage nearly US$83 trillion in assets, including everything from stakes in fledgling tech startups to government bonds. But as newer rivals promise tax advantages, lower fees and rapid trading, their dominance is under threat. Will mutual funds become obsolete? Find out more at FP Investing

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Are you worried about having enough for retirement? Do you need to adjust your portfolio? Are you wondering how to make ends meet? Drop us a line at with your contact info and the general gist of your problem and we’ll try to find some experts to help you out while writing a Family Finance story about it (we’ll keep your name out of it, of course). If you have a simpler question, the crack team at FP Answers led by Julie Cazzin or one of our columnists can give it a shot.

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McLister on Mortgages

Want to learn more about mortgages? Mortgage strategist Robert McLister’s Financial Post column can help navigate the complex sector, from the latest trends to financing opportunities you won’t want to miss. Read them here

Today’s Posthaste was written by Pamela Heaven with additional reporting from Financial Post staff, The Canadian Press and Bloomberg.

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