Digital Subscription Expenses

When entering this on the credits form, there is a column for the percentage. I know the percentage allowed is 15%, but I’m not clear why there is an entry field if it’s a standard amount across the board. I’m concerned the purpose of the column is more nuanced or I’m majorly missing something about this new credit.

Is entering a percentage here meant to reflect how much of each receipt was digital in case it’s a combined total? For example: The total receipt is $500, but the qualifying expense is only $250 - making the entries $500 Amount Paid and 50% eligible. Thus, if the total receipt is $250 and it’s $250 qualifying, then the percentage would be 100%.

Here is the guide content for the credit:

You can claim up to $500 for amounts you paid in 2020 for
qualifying subscription expenses. You must have paid the
amounts to a qualified Canadian journalism organization
(QCJO) that does not hold a licence to broadcast, for a
digital news subscription to content that is primarily
original news.
Only the individual(s) who entered into the agreement for
the subscription can claim the expenses. If you and another
person can claim the same qualifying subscription expenses,
you can split the claim for that digital news subscription
expenses. However, the total amount of your claim and the
other person’s claim cannot exceed the maximum amount
allowed for this credit.
A digital news subscription may also provide you access
to non-digital content or content that comes from a partner
organization of the QCJO, that are not themselves a
QCJO. Only the cost of a comparable stand-alone digital
subscription, to the content of the QCJO will be eligible.
If there is no comparable stand-alone digital subscription,
then only half of the amount paid is eligible.

So the eligible portion column may exclude the fees that are non-digital related or you may exclude fees that are shared with someone else.

Thanks, Darlene! That makes total sense.

It would appear there are not many qualifying organizations at the moment.

That is a short list! We’re in Winnipeg, so we’re getting a lot of receipts from the Winnipeg Free Press.

This government is such a joke with its boutique credits. Unbelievable.

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Interestingly, as a digital subscriber to the Toronto Star, they provide a receipt to be used for this claim - available within your online account - notwithstanding they don’t appear on the CRA listing. It is tempting to suggest an analogy as to the substance of reporting, but I’ll refrain.

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Wow! That list is super short. Being in the GTA, I don’t think I’ll see any clients with these subscriptions. Thanks for sharing the link.

I don’t think I’ll bother mentioning this credit to clients. I imagine the lengthy list is an indication of the value placed on the credit by the publishers.

I don’t think I’ll bother telling most of my clients about this credit, either.

However, I’m quite surprised to see such a short list of qualifying digital news subscriptions on the CRA website. After all, both the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star claim that individuals who have a digital subscription to these newspaper, can claim the digital news subscription tax credit on their personal income tax return.

Also, the price of digital subscriptions of Canadian media is relatively high. A few month ago I paid $52 US for 52 weeks for an online subscription to the “Wall Street Journal”. This newspaper is just remarkable and I can’t start (or finish) my day without reading it.

That page also says:

" Note
Don’t see a subscription? The list of qualifying digital news subscriptions is compiled based on organizations that submit a request to the CRA for a determination as to whether the subscriptions they offer meet the criteria in the Income Tax Act. Other organizations may offer a subscription that qualifies for the digital news subscription tax credit, but may have not requested a determination from the CRA. You should contact the organization that offers the digital subscription for more information if you do not see it not on this list."

Yes I did notice that and have a put a client on the case for his potential credit. Not sure it is really worth his time but better his time than mine at the moment. :smiley:

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This makes no sense. The Ottawa Citizen put a big ad in the paper pointing out that paper subscribers can take the deduction (since they have access to the digital version) and yet they aren’t even on the list!!


OTOH the ITA appears to REQUIRE “designation”…

“qualified Canadian journalism organization, at any time, means …
and (b)( is designated at that time by the Minister and, for this purpose, …”

Apparently the Toronto Sun indicates:

For reference, our government qualification number is: QCJO #: Q4267467

Still doesn’t show on CRA web site.

The Globe and Mail also produce a nice official receipt and are also not listed.

Maybe it is the CRA being a little slow to populate the list?

I don’t think the CRA is maintaining the “List of qualifying digital news subscriptions” site. I have a few clients with Postmedia digital subscriptions. Postmedia’s letter specifically states that the subscription does qualify for the tax credit (I know that means nothing if the CRA disagrees). But if the CRA on their sites says:

You should contact the organization that offers the digital subscription for more information if you do not see it not on this list.

Well, I don’t see the difference between calling them up to get the answer on their letter with the credit amount on it.

Just went and downloaded my receipt from the Globe and Mail. Although they have an “article” about the Digital News Subscription Credit and their billing page SAYS they are a QCJO (and even has their reg #) there is nothing on the receipt that says that it qualifies in any way, shape or form. It’s just a receipt with my name, a list of billing dates and payment methods/confirmations. Nothing else.

Getting the number is the first step. They still have to apply to get approved to say that their subscription qualifies. And then they can submit to have their publication(s) listed on the website.

I’ve read through the qualification and getting a QCJO number is not indicative of qualifying for the expense. In this case, as they have not specifically said that they do, you should call them.

The list has started to grow.