Taxes for Independent Contractors Canada: Basic Guide

February 16, 2024
Gurdeep Sangha
taxes for independent contractor canada

Lost or confused about how to file taxes as an independent contractor in Canada? Here’s everything you should know!

Table of Contents

What is the process of filling taxes for independent contractors Canada?

Filing taxes as an independent contractor in Canada involves several key steps. Firstly, it’s essential to gather all relevant documents, including bank statements, credit card statements, T4A slips for income earned, invoices, and receipts for business-related expenses.

Additionally, maintaining records of business-related expenses such as labour, materials, tools, and milage. Independent contractors can operate under various business structures, affecting how income and expenses are reported.

If not already done, registering for a Business Number (BN) through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is necessary. As an independent contractor in Canada, you need need to register for and remit Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or Goods and Services Tax (GST) once you make $30,000 in sales over four consecutive calendar quarters.

Reporting income is typically done using form T2125, unless you are incorporated, where net income is calculated by deducting eligible business expenses. Deductions can include home office expenses, vehicle costs, professional fees, and any other eligible business expenses

When it comes to taxes for independent contractors who are incorporated in Canada, you typically need to fill out forms related to your business structure. This includes the T2 Corporation Income Tax Return and the T4 slip for reporting salaries and wages paid to employees, including themselves if you are also employees of the corporation. 

In Canada, it is possible for an individual to be both an employee and an independent contractor. This situation can occur when an individual works for a company as a regular employee while also providing services to the same or a different company as an independent contractor.

The next step involves filing the income tax return using the appropriate forms, usually the T1 General. Quarterly installment payments may be required based on income levels, and maintaining meticulous records is essential for potential CRA audits.

For those with complex tax situations, seeking professional assistance from an accountant or tax professional is advisable to ensure accurate and compliant tax filings.

How do independent contractors pay taxes in Canada?

For independent contractors in Canada, particularly those operating as sole proprietors or self-employed individuals, the tax filing process involves completing the T1 General, which serves as the standard personal income tax return.

Additionally, a crucial step is filling out the T2125 form, known as the Statement of Business or Professional Activities. This form requires contractors to provide detailed information about their business, including the income earned, cost of goods sold, gross profit, and a comprehensive list of business expenses.

This form requires contractors to provide detailed information about their business, including the income earned, cost of goods sold, gross profit, and a comprehensive list of business expenses. 

By specifying these details when filing taxes for independent contractors, this can calculate the taxable net business income or loss, helping to determine the final tax liability.

How much tax do I pay as an independent contractor Canada?

Calculating the exact amount of tax an independent contractor pays in Canada involves several factors, including income, business expenses, and applicable tax credits. 

The federal income tax rates provided below, along with any relevant provincial or territorial taxes, will contribute to determining the total tax liability. 

It’s essential to consult with a Canadian tax professional for accurate calculations based on individual circumstances.

Federal Income Tax Rates for 2024

Federal Income Tax Rates for 2024

Tax Rate Taxable Income Threshold
15% on the portion of taxable income that is $55,867 or less
20.5% on the portion of taxable income over $55,867 up to $111,733
26% on the portion of taxable income over $111,733 up to $173,205
29% on the portion of taxable income over $173,205 up to $246,752
33% on the portion of taxable income over $246,752

Who can file my taxes for independent contractor Canada?

When it comes to filing taxes for independent contractors in Canada, individuals have many options tailored to their preferences and the complexity of their financial situations.

One approach is self-filing, allowing independent contractors to complete their tax returns independently using tax preparation software or traditional paper forms provided by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). However, self-filing may not be the best option if you have little to no experience with filing taxes or understanding the process. 

For those seeking expert guidance and advice, tax professionals such as accountants or tax advisors offer specialized assistance in navigating the intricacies of tax laws and obligations. 

Each option presents distinct advantages, allowing independent contractors to choose the approach that aligns best with their needs and comfort level in managing their tax responsibilities.

To receive a free consultation about taxes for independent contracts Canada, request a consultation with the team at Sansar Solutions to answer all your questions and concerns pertaining to your specific tax situation.

What can you write off as an independent contractor in Canada?

As an independent contractor in Canada, you can potentially write off various business-related expenses to reduce your taxable income. The table below outlines common deductible expenses for independent contractors in Canada:

Tax Write-offs for Independent Contractors

Tax Write-offs for Independent Contractors

Expense Category Description
Business Expenses
Home Office Expenses Portion of rent or mortgage, utilities, and maintenance expenses related to a dedicated home office.
Meals and Entertainment
Client Meals and Entertainment Costs associated with meals and entertainment directly related to business meetings with clients.
Business Insurance Premiums for insurance coverage necessary for the business, such as liability or professional indemnity.
Health and Benefits
Health Insurance Premiums Deductible portion of health insurance premiums for self-employed individuals.
Bank Fees and Interest Fees and interest on business-related bank accounts and loans.

Frequently asked questions about taxes for independent contractors Canada

Yes, as the owner of a company in Canada, you can pay yourself as a contractor by drawing a salary or dividends from your incorporated business. The choice between salary and dividends has tax implications, and it’s recommended to consult with a tax professional to determine the most suitable approach based on your financial goals and business structure.

In Canada, if your annual worldwide taxable supplies exceed $30,000, you are required to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), depending on your province. As a contractor, you may need to charge and collect GST/HST on your services if your annual revenue exceeds the threshold. However, it’s essential to verify the specific rules and rates applicable to your situation, as they can vary by province. Consultation with a tax professional is advisable to ensure compliance with GST/HST regulations.

Yes, if you are self-employed in Canada, you may need to get a Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Having a BN is essential for various tax-related activities, including filing your taxes, collecting the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) if applicable, and conducting other business-related transactions. It helps the CRA identify your business and ensures proper tracking of your tax obligations.

Start charging Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Canada when your business or contractor earnings exceed $30,000 over four consecutive calendar quarters.


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