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What Capital Cost Allowance class or line on the tax form do I use for purchases of small photography equipment?

By John R Mott |

Lori asked:

What Capital Cost Allowance class or line on the tax form do I use for purchases of small photography equipment? I have a home based photography company with a studio within my house. Many of the purchases are around $100 and include things like a background to use for portraits, camera straps, camera bag, clamps, batteries, etc.

I am considering using Class 12 for these purchases, realizing the individual purchase price is low. I am using Class 8 for any large equipment item over $500, like a camera body or lenses.

Is this correct?

John R Mott answered:

You highlight a recurring accounting issue, how to treat low ticket items having a long useful life.

I often encounter practices that read "All items costing less than ${pick your number} are automatically expensed." Some use $100 as the threshold, others may use $500. Unfortunately, any threshold is arbitrary. There is no de minimus exemption provided in the Income Tax Act that excludes an expense from capital treatment -- with the possible exception of Class 12.

But Class 12 cannot be regarded as a catch basin. The permitted inclusions in Class 12 are defined in very precise language:,_c._945/page-220.html#h-448.

The one basket that may be applicable to you is the item called "tool." Tool is not a defined term in the Income Tax Act, and so the ordinary dictionary meaning applies. For items that can fit into a reasonably strict interpretation of this word, then Class 12 is appropriate. I think a lot of photographic gear can probably be regarded as tools, without doing an injustice to the word. I am thinking of things like light meters, tripods, filters, etc. A helpful phrase that comes to mind is "tools of the trade."

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