Cell Phones and CRA

by Kaila
(Fort McMurray)

What is CRA's position on cell phones?

What is CRA's position on cell phones?

Editor: links updated 2019-08

Are cell phones fully deductible?

My client is using 2 cell phone and I am not sure if they are both fully deductible. Is there a rule on this?

If using only one cell phone, is that fully deductible?

section divider

Hi Kaila,

CRA's postion on cellular phone use is found at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/payroll/benefits-allowances/provided/cellular-phone-internet-services.html .

I discuss briefly land line phones at T2125 Line 9220 and also when discussing what expenses are not deductible.

The key to deductibily when you are a business owner is incurring the expense to earn income.

You might want to take at look at the CRA publication Excise and GST/HST News No. 61 from the summer of 2006 - Ordinary location of mobile phones.

It discusses that there "are special rules for determining whether a particular call is subject to GST/HST in the situation where a cellular service provider charges a subscriber for calls made on his or her cell phone on a pay-per-use basis."

The CRA publication T4130 Employer's Guide Taxable Benefits and Allowances discusses cellular phone service.

The Canadian Tax Resource published an article in March 2010 on Deductions From Employment Income. Salesperson expenses were discussed.

Under expenes permitted as salesperson expenses, it says, "Supplies used directly in your work. This includes office supplies, cellular phone airtime, and long distance (your normal monthly charge for cellular or telephone cannot be deducted)."

Jones & O'Connell posted an excellent article in September 2016 entitled Employer-provided cell phones - the potential tax cost. Updated March 2017 - be sure to read this article

While these references / articles are discussing employees, some of the logic could be applied to the sole proprietor when trying to determine "What is a reasonable expense?"

So, are two cell phones deductible?

I think it would be pretty tough to explain why the business owner needs 2 business cell phones for himself. He can only use one at a time. Any individually charged calls would certainly be deductible if they were related to business and were not personal in nature.

Is one cell phone fully deductible?

Again it depends. Is it used 100% for business with no personal useage? Is the plan a basic one? Does the owner's personal use of the cell phone result in charges over the basic plan?

You can always phone CRA and ask their opinion.

P.S. I would like to remind you there is a difference between information and advice. The general information provided in this post or on my site should not be construed as advice. You should not act or rely on this information without engaging professional advice specific to your situation prior to using this site content for any reason whatsoever.

Comments for Cell Phones and CRA

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 22, 2012
Cell Phone Purchase
by: Sharon, Calgary

I have a client who purchased a new iphone using his personal credit card for $99.00 plus tax. He uses the phone 10% for business and 90% personal.

How would I properly record this type of transaction?

Would I have him fill out a personal expense report for only 10% of the total bill ($9.90 for phone and $0.50 GST)? Then book as an expense as the amount is less than $200 in the books and only claim the $0.50 for ITC's)?

section divider

Hey Sharon,

I'm thinking I would approach the entry exactly like you have suggested.

Apr 03, 2013
Cell Phone Expenses
by: Anonymous

Are cell phone costs deductible for self employed persons?

section divider

I moved your question here as it related to cell phones. Check out the references listed.

Mar 08, 2017
Cell phone for self employed
by: Tanya from Ottawa

Hi! First of all I want to tell you how fantastic your page is! You have such great information to share!

I have a question re: cell phone for self employed - if used for both business and personal (say 50/50) can it be an expense still (the business part? Would that only include chargeable business messages or would it include a portion of the monthly base charge?

Thank you!

P.S. I love the website but a search button for articles on the site would be great. The search button I tried and it took me off the Bookkeeping-Essentials website :(

Mar 08, 2017
by: Lake

I moved your post to the "cell phone" page. You should find the answer to your question above.

Strange about the search box. When I search for information on my site using the custom search box in the right hand navigation bar, it never searches off my site. Google does put advertising at the top but all the rest should be articles on my site.

Sep 18, 2017
So, on which line...
by: Anonymous

On which line does this go? Everyone blogs about these expenses, but doesn't tell you where to put them

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Home Business Taxes.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Enjoy A Tea Break With
Me Today. Let's Chat!

Use the search feature to quickly find the
information you're looking for.

Your Learning Curve!


Warm up your tea cup and check out these chats ...

Click on image above to read the chat.

Join Me On Facebook

Help support this site by "liking" me! Here's where I post current information.

Listed Under Websites NOT Local Business.
This website is NOT associated with the business operating in Bonnyville AB.

A Handy Reference