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Tax Issues

We frequently get asked questions by attendees and potential attendees regarding the tax implications of attending CME conferences. We cannot provide tax advice to individuals, and it is always best to consult your accountant/tax advisor for specific questions. However, if you intend to combine a trip with a medical conference and are planning to deduct expenses incurred, you should be aware of specific rules Canada Revenue Agency has regarding circumstances necessary for legitimately deducting conference expenses, especially when travel is involved.

Subsection 20 (10) and sections 67 and 67.1 of the Income Tax Act [Canada] and paragraph 9 of Article XXV of the Canada-U.S. Tax Convention deal with convention/conference expenses.

Self-employed taxpayers who are carrying on a business or practising a profession may deduct expenses incurred in attending not more than two conventions a year provided that the conventions were:

(a) held by a business or professional organization,
(b) attended in connection with the taxpayer’s business or professional practice, and,
(c) held at a location that may reasonably be regarded as consistent with the territorial scope of the organization.

Direct conference expenses (such as registration fees) are considered tax deductible. When attendance at a convention is combined with a vacation trip, expenses for transportation and accommodation should be allocated on a ‘reasonable basis’ - Revenue Canada suggests that a reasonable basis is one that allows the taxpayer to deduct the cost of travel (transportation and necessary meals and accommodation en route) to the convention and back, and the costs of accommodation while participating in the conference (at MD Conferences meetings, CME activities include group sessions for all attendees plus literature review and evaluation for those enrolled in the optional CME To Go progam).

It is important to keep in mind that for expenses to be legitimately claimed as deductible, conditions (a), (b), and (c) above must all be satisfied. In that regard, deductions can be made only for expenses paid for attending conferences at locations consistent with the “territoral scope” of the sponsoring organization. The term “territorial scope” refers to the geographical “area in which the particular organization ordinarily conducts its activities” [i.e. Canada, where the organization is national in character; or a particular province if the sponsoring organization is provincial, etc.]. You should therefore be aware of what the territorial scope of the sponsoring organization(s) of any conference you plan to attend would reasonably be considered to be.

The territorial scope of MD Conferences is international in nature, and not national, provincial, or regional.

 
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