What is C3I? Investment and Innovation Tax Credit

  • By Maxence Milhau
    • Aug 01, 2023
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The Investment and Innovation Tax Credit Program or “C3i” is a provincial program that uses tax incentives to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to invest more in their innovation projects through the purchase of specified assets. The objective of this program is to digitize operations and modernize the equipment of Canadian companies by accelerating these investment projects through a reduction in the financial burden of the companies that undertake them.

Who is eligible for the C3I Program?

Qualified companies in Quebec – that is, companies that carry on business and have an establishment in the province – are eligible for this credit. Some exceptions apply to certain aluminum producers and oil companies. In addition, certain companies involved in partnerships that operate aluminum production sites or oil refineries may not be eligible either.  Finally, tax-exempt corporations or Crown corporations, or a subsidiary wholly controlled by such a corporation are also not eligible for this program.

What is an eligible specified property and what is the scope of eligible expenditures?

For a specified property to be eligible, it must be acquired by the corporation after March 10, 2020, and before January 1, 2030. It must also be new and used immediately by the corporation. Purchases of used property cannot, therefore, be considered in this program. In addition, the property must be used mainly in Quebec for a minimum period of 730 consecutive days. However, the property must not be used as part of a major investment project requiring authorization from Investissement Québec or a federal or provincial government to start the project.

Several categories of goods are eligible for C3I. First, universal electronic information processing equipment (category 50) is eligible, as well as management software packages (category 12). In addition, new manufacturing, and processing materials (class 53) are eligible, as well as equipment related to mining activities (class 43). About category 12, subscriptions to management software packages or licenses are not eligible for this credit, as they must be a complete purchase. In addition, leases will not be accepted if an agreement is not signed in advance with the lessor for the lessee to obtain ownership of the asset at the end of the lease period.

What are the applicable exclusion thresholds and credit rates?

For each property, an exclusion threshold has been determined by the government. This means that it will be necessary to subtract a specific amount from each asset, not from the entire invoice. For electronic equipment and business software packages, this threshold is set at $5,000. For manufacturing and processing equipment, the threshold is set at $12,500.

The rate applicable to each asset differs according to the zone in which the business is located and the date of purchase. In fact, 3 zones have been defined by the government, the zone with high economic vitality, containing the metropolitan community of Montreal and the metropolitan community of Quebec. The low economic vitality zone is made up of several regional municipalities that are further away from the economic capitals of Montreal and Quebec City and are not very industrially developed (see Table 2). Finally, the intermediate economic zone includes all other regions that are neither in the high economic vitality zone nor in the low economic vitality zone.

Table 2 : List of territories with low economic vitality

Antoine‑LabelleLe Golfe‑du‑Saint‑Laurent
Argenteuil (until December, 2024)Le Rocher‑Percé
AvignonLes Appalaches (until March 31, 2023)
BonaventureLes Basques
Charlevoix‑EstLes Etchemins
Communauté maritime des Îles‑de‑la‑Madeleine (until March 31, 2023)Les Sources
Domaine du Roy (from July 1, 2021)Maria‑Chapdelaine
La Côte‑de‑Gaspé (until March 31, 2023)Matawinie (until December, 2024)
La Haute‑Côte‑NordMaskinongé (from July 1, 2021)
La Haute‑GaspésieMékinac
La MataniePapineau (from July 1, 2021)
La MatapédiaPontiac
La MitisShawinigan
La TuqueTémiscouata
La Vallée‑de‑la‑Gatineau 

Finally, following the calculation of the C3I amount, companies with assets and gross income of less than $50 million will be eligible for a fully refundable tax credit. Those with assets and gross revenues more than $100 million will instead be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit. While the C3i tax credit will be partially refundable for companies between the $50 million and $100 million thresholds. 

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    Maxence Milhau
    Maxence Milhau

    Innovation Funding Consultant

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