A Guide to the Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Tax Credit

What is the Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Tax Credit?

A flow-through share (FTS) is a type of share investment in a mining, gas or energy company which permits its purchaser certain tax breaks.

There are many different companies that can issue FTS in Canada, but the Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share (OFFTS) tax credit pertains specifically to shares bought in mining companies dedicated to mining exploration within Ontario.

This program is sponsored by the provincial government and aims to boost mineral exploration in the province by making it easier for smaller companies to access capital.

How Does the Tax Credit Work?

The tax credit works as follows: if you own shares in a mining company, you are effectively (as a shareholder), a partial owner of the company.

If the company begins mining exploration in Ontario, you assume partial responsibility for the expenses the company incurs while doing this.

You help to fund their exploration.

The expenses you run up doing this are tax-deductible.

This means you can offset your investment expenses against your income and reduce your overall tax burden.

The amount you can claim as a credit is 5% of your share of the eligible expenses incurred during the tax year – though the exact numerical figure for this depends on how many shares you have and the value of the expenses incurred.

Stock market share prices

Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Tax Credit Eligibility

Clearly, this is a program designed for a very specific purpose, so there are strict eligibility criteria to meet before the tax credit becomes relevant.

Taxpayer Eligibility

To qualify for the OFFTS tax credit, you yourself must have:

  • Lived in Ontario on the last day of the tax year you are filing for
  • Purchased FTS in an eligible company
  • Purchased the shares after October 17th, 2000

The tax credit is for individuals only, and not corporations, trusts or corporate partners.

Issuing Company Eligibility

In addition, the company issuing the shares must:

  • Be permanently based in Ontario
  • Be a principal business corporation, as defined in the Income Tax Act, whose primary business is exploring and mining for minerals

Expenses Eligibility

In addition to these rules, the expenses incurred must meet certain criteria, primarily centered on determining the existence, location, extent or quality of a mineral resource in Ontario, and include:

  • Environmental studies
  • Community consultations
  • Prospecting
  • Geological, geophysical or geochemical surveys
  • Drilling
  • Trenching
  • Labour and field supervision
  • Contractor’s and consultant’s fees
  • Supply and equipment rental fees
  • Supply transportation
  • Food and lodging
  • Other overhead costs

Crucially, ineligible expenses are as follows:

  • Expenses incurred on any existing mine (including expansions or extensions)
  • Purchase of seismic data
  • Legal costs
  • Financial costs
  • Oil or gas wells 

How To Claim The OFFTS Tax Credit

Applying for the OFFTS tax credit is relatively simple, and can be done as part of your normal yearly tax filing.

When completing your income tax returns, you will want to note your eligibility in your T1, and then separately complete: 

  • Form ON479, Ontario Credits
  • Form T1221, Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Resources Expenses for 2001 and Subsequent Years

You will also need some supporting paperwork from the mining exploration company that issued the shares:

  • Form T101 Statement of Resource Expenses, or 
  • Form T5013 Statement of Partnership Income

All of these forms and supporting documents can be filed either electronically or by mail.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can claim the Ontario focused flow-through share tax credit?
  • Where can I buy flow-through shares?

Amy Orr is an author, freelance writer and editor, specializing in FinTech and Personal Finance. Starting with several prestigious internships in investment banking and asset management, in 2007 she went on to graduate with an MSc in Finance and Investment from the University of Edinburgh Business School.

She has since spent years as both a Portfolio Analyst and as a Financial Researcher/Writer, in both the UK and Canada.

Versed in the intricacies of multiple financial markets, her forte is parsing complex technical concepts into relatable, digestible content for the masses.