Selling Intangibles Online in Canada


As the modern accounting firm serving the changing needs and platforms for Canadian entrepreneurs, we are very invested in helping you succeed with your online business. Many people associate e-commerce with tangible products; meaning, products you can package and ship. However, there is a thriving market for intangibles as well. Let’s take a closer look.

What are intangible products?

Intangible products can cover a very wide range. While some products have a tangibility to them (for example, downloadable) they are generally products that are on the creative side. For example:

  • Blogs and content that is emailed or placed on a collaborative platform for your clients
  • Downloadable templates for labels or crafts
  • Online classes and tutorials
  • Virtual sessions (crafting, celebrity greetings, tarot readings, etc.)

Where to sell intangible products?

Several well-known platforms exist to sell the types of products listed above. These include but are not limited to:

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Etsy
  • Shopify
  • Kijiji
  • Amazon

You can also create your own e-commerce website, or a site that links to selling powerhouses like Shopify and Amazon.

What about GST and HST?

Unless your service is exempt, expect to collect and remit GST/HST when:

  • As a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation your revenues reach $30K in a year.
  • As a public service body your revenues reach $50K in a year.

Note that there is a lot more at play here. If you are selling digital service out of country, if you are a registered charity, or if you are doing a mix of business locally and abroad, there are additional things to consider. You should talk to an accountant about the structure of your business, where you plan to sell, and when you expect to cross the tax collection threshold. If you are not paying attention and make more than $30K or $50K and have not set yourself up to collect GST/HST, you may owe it retroactively.

How to keep track of revenue, expenses, sales, and more

AF Accounting has services specifically for e-commerce sellers. In addition to our accounting services and modern offerings like virtual CFO, we offer A2X for Amazon sellers and Xero for e-commerce sellers. Both applications are cloud-based, meaning the security and updates all happen from the source. Your data is always on the most secure, efficient version of the A2X or Xero platform. Both services are also incredibly agile offering new services and products as they continue to evolve.

AF Accounting is a gold partner with Xero, and we also have years of experience in administering A2X for our clients. Both platforms empower you to take charge of your business, and our services are here whether you need a fulltime accountant or just some extra help around tax time.

Contact us to learn more

We can’t wait to help your small business grow! We are here for Canadian businesses coast to coast. To learn more about how we can help or to learn more about A2X and Xero, contact us today.

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