What kind of Fisher are you? How to choose your category at tax time.

February 27, 2017

What kind of Fisher are you? How to choose your category at tax time.

If your office is more like a boat and your job isn’t a typical 9-5, you might be staying afloat with fishing income. If this sounds like you, there’s lots to know about how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants you to report this income, and we’ve got some good tips to get you started.

In general, the government treats self-employed fishers like any other small business operator. Since fishing income can easily change from year to year, and large capital expenditures might be required for business, there are a few special tax breaks that only you can catch. We’ve pulled together some helpful info on fishing income & taxes, so you can reel in more on your return.

What kind of fisher am I?

Fishers are defined in three categories for tax purposes, and each category comes with its own set of deductible expenses.

Category 1:

If you own or rent your fishing vessel, then you’ll report your gross income from fishing, and claim all of your expenses. Deductible expenses include shares paid to sharespeople (fishers and crew members who receive a share of the catch), wages paid to employees and Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) on capital assets used in your fishing business. Assets would be things like netting, dock space, boats or other investments for your business.

Category 2:

Captains who don’t rent or own their fishing vessel can claim any expenses that aren’t paid by the owner and that are reasonably required to earn income. For example, personal navigation aids and gear, or auto expenses you took on while transporting crew would all be deductible.

Category 3:

For sharespeople, operating expenses have already been deducted from the income you are reporting on your tax return, so you cannot claim them twice. This means you can only claim expenses that you personally paid for, such as rubber gear, knives and gloves. Remember, sharespeople are considered self-employed and not employees because their income depends on the success of the catch, rather than a set wage.

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