How to report copyright income on your tax returns

How to report copyright income on your tax returns

To help you understand your taxes — we've updated the information about reporting copyright income for tax purposes. 


Copyright income

The basic fact is that all income must be reported to the government and your copyright income is no exception.

Copyright income can include the following:

  • Income from selling your content 
  • Income from public performances 
  • Copibec royalties for your reproduction rights 
  • Royalties for your content borrowed under the Public Lending Right Program
  • Royalties from any other type of use

The royalties you receive from Copibec count as copyright income.

Also, our tax slips are produced as soon as the total amount of payments in the year is $50 or more. 

Here is where to retrieve your tax slips in your online account for the year 2022.


Quebec tax return

At the provincial level, you can take advantage of a tax deduction of up to $15,000 on your copyright income for any content where you’re the primary copyright owner.

That means you don’t have to pay income taxes on your copyright income as long as it amounted to less than $15,000.

If your copyright income was $15,000 or over, your eligible deduction progressively decreases until your income reaches $60,000 or more. Please refer to the article from the Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ) for further details.

Your copyright income must be reported on line 164 (business income) of your tax return in order to deduct expenses related to the production of your work. If no expenses are incurred for your work, you should report this amount on line 130. 

The copyright deduction mentioned above should be reported on line 297 of your return in the "Miscellaneous deductions" section. 

What if you’re a visual artist? The explanation provided by the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels (RAAV) will be very useful to you.


Federal tax return

There’s no tax deduction for copyright income at the federal level. Your copyright income must be reported on line 10400 of your return. The total amount of royalties received during the year appears in box 17 of your T5 slip. You can refer to the slip issued to you by Copibec.

The total amount of royalties collected during the year is shown in Box 17 of your T5 statement. You can refer to the statement you received from Copibec. If you have incurred expenses, please refer to the following section.


Freelancers and self-employed workers

If you’re self-employed, it’s very likely there were expenses involved in earning your copyright income.

If there are expenses associated with a royalty, you must complete the Self-employed Schedule (T2125). The net amount of income must be reported on line 13500 of your federal tax return, which is the line corresponding to self-employment income.

Certain expenses related to your work are tax-deductible. Refer to the UNEQ article for more information.

All other royalties must be reported on line 12100 corresponding to interest and other investment income.


Where to turn for more information?

Your accountant is the best person to answer your questions and give you advice about your income taxes.