Tax Court of Canada


Taxation

INCOME TAX

Taxpayer had predominant intention to make profit

Taxpayer had been sports journalist who had written sports blogs as part of his employment. After taxpayer’s employment ended in 2011, he started his own sports blog on professional website with view to obtaining advertisement revenue from sponsors. Taxpayer continued to travel to sports team’s games and deducted travel expenses. Taxpayer claimed no gross income and business loss of $26,540 in 2011, and gross income of $7,500 but net business loss of $33,366 in 2012. Minister of National Revenue denied taxpayer’s business losses on ground that taxpayer did not conduct any business activities. Taxpayer appealed. Appeals allowed. While there was commercial aspect of taxpayer’s venture, there was also personal element for sports fan to travel to watch sports team play and blog about it. Taxpayer had over 20 years’ experience as sportswriter but no experience in selling advertising or running media business. Taxpayer did nothing to solicit sponsors but was able to obtain one sponsor. While taxpayer’s intended course of action was poor business judgment, it was not so devoid of commercial reasoning to conclude venture was personal. Taxpayer did not provide evidence to assess venture’s capability to make profit. Given early stage of venture, it was found to go beyond hobby. Taxpayer had predominant intention to make profit and behaved in reasonable businesslike manner to pursue that end, while in start-up phase.

Berger v. R. (Jun. 19, 2015, T.C.C. [Informal Procedure], Campbell J. Miller J., File No. 2014-4251(IT)I) 254 A.C.W.S. (3d) 232.   

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