13 Jun 2013

Many of us may need to belong to a professional society or club.

Membership can bring the opportunity to network, open yourself up to new clientele, and improve your professional develop with knowledge sharing.

The Canada Revenue Agency will let you include some membership dues as business expenses. The fee must be for membership in a trade or commercial association, however.

For instance, a public relations professional can claim their membership dues to belong to the Canadian Public Relations Society or the International Association of Business Communicators.

You cannot, however, use your membership dues or initiation fees if the club’s main purpose is dining, recreation or sporting activities. For example, you cannot claim your dues to the Calgary Winter Club or the GlenEagles Golf Course.

While you might very well do business with other members of the club or use your membership as an opportunity to network, it simply doesn’t qualify as a business expense deduction.

How do I claim my dues on my taxes?

You membership dues get included with other business expenses such as business taxes, fees, licences and subscriptions.

Enter the total amount of your fees on Line 8760 of your T-2125, Statement of Business and Professional Activities.

Some expenses are eligible

The ban on social membership dues doesn’t mean all is lost with the money you spent on social club dues and gatherings. Your membership dues are considered a cost of doing business, but so are business lunches and dinners that may be held at your social or sporting club.

That’s right. You can still claim activities at your social and sporting clubs as part of your meals and entertainment expenses.

Let’s say you take a client out for a round of golf. You can’t claim your green fees or any other costs to use the facilities. You can, however, claim any meals and beverages consumed at the club, provided they fall within the CRA guidelines.

Remember to keep itemized receipts, complete with information about your client and the business conducted during the meal.

Can you help?

We sure can. We specialize in small-business accounting and financial services. Contact one of our tax specialists and we can help you optimize the tax benefits and credits available to self-employed individuals and small businesses.

Fill out our contact form or give us a call at 403-226-8297.