In recent years, becoming a digital creator or influencer has become a popular way to express oneself creatively and connect with an audience. However, many influencers overlook the importance of taxes and financial planning. In this interview, we spoke to Sean, a digital creator who has been in the game since 2017. Sean went viral through her TikTok video that showcased the new CRA guidelines
, which have recently caused confusion and concern among influencers. Despite this, Sean has found a way to stay on top of her finances by tracking both monetary and non-monetary income. She also shares her favorite source for financial news. In this blog, we'll dive into the world of taxes for influencers and offer tips on how to stay organized and compliant with the law.
How long have you been a digital creator?
I started back in 2017 as a 'YouTuber", all I wanted to do back then is have a creative outlet for myself as not all of my friends share the same interests as me. Then I created an Instagram account to go along with it, I was able to reach 6,000+ followers but my account was unfortunately deleted/hacked, and I wasn't able to recover it anymore. Then in 2020, I created a new Instagram account (@http.sean.ca) just for the sake of having an account, I was too focused on finishing my second degree in Psychology, and it was only last November 2021 when I decided to actually become a digital creator/influencer. So far, I have closed 33 brand collaborations (paid & gifted) and I'm really happy that I decided to just do it and don't doubt myself anymore!
How did you find out about the new CRA guidelines?
I found out about the CRA guidelines the same day it was posted, March 2nd, 2022 - and I came across the article through the CRA Twitter account.
How have the new CRA guidelines affected you?
I already did my taxes a week before the CRA guidelines were released so it didn't really affect me at all. However, it strengthens my decision to eventually register my brand as a business since I'm also looking into starting a Social Media Management agency in the future.
Any tips you've learned along the way on how to keep track of non-monetary income?
I love using Microsoft Excel on almost anything, so aside from writing everything down in my "Influencer Planner", I record everything using a "Collaboration Tracker" file I created, which I also shared with my TikTok followers. I treat gifted collaborations just as I would treat a paid collaboration, I write down the value so I can properly gauge if the deliverables that the brand is asking for a gifted collaboration are on par with my rates. For example, I will negotiate if a brand is requesting an Instagram reel, Instagram carousel, and Instagram stories in exchange for a product valued at $200. I'll negotiate to reduce the deliverables to match my rate. This was my main reason for tracking even non-monetary income, now I realize that it will be helpful come tax-filing time.
On a personal level, how do you feel about the new guidelines? Fair? Unfair? Why?
I think that it's vague given the fact that a lot of influencers are so confused right now. The information released is not really enough to make an assumption as to whether or not the new CRA guideline is fair or unfair. However, based on the majority of the comments on the TikTok video that I made, a lot of people have been expressing their dismay saying, "we don't really get paid in cash when doing gifted collaborations, so why are we supposed to get taxed on that?"
Do you have any favorite social media accounts or websites to stay up to date with on financial news that you recommend to other content creators?
Yahoo Finance News is my go-to!