If you’re making income, you need a way to report it for your taxes. To make that part easier, most types of income have a specific slip that’s issued at tax time to report the income amount and any deductions.

The most Canadian of tax slips, the T4A (eh?), is a prominent member of the T4 family and a form that plays a big part in recording your income. Think of it as the junk drawer of slips. Instead of twist ties and half-used rolls of tape, it’s full of income and deductions.

The slip, formally called the T4A – Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income, is a catch-all form. If an amount doesn’t go on another slip, it usually ends up on a T4A. So it’s important to understand what this form is all about and how it works.

Key Takeaways
  1. You will receive a T4A – Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income slip when you receive income from pensions, retiring allowance, annuities, scholarships, Veteran’s benefits, or other sources.
  2. The T4A slip covers many different tax areas and should not be confused with similar forms for specific income types—like the T4A(P), T4A(OAS), T4E, and T4RSP.
  3. If Box 20 or Box 48 of the T4A slip includes an amount, it means you have income from contract work or commission-based activities and are self-employed for tax purposes.

What is a T4A Tax Form?

A T4A Tax Form, or Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income, is a slip that identifies the amounts paid to you during the calendar year for certain types of income from many different sources. This might include income from self-employment, pensions, annuities, scholarships, grants, retiring allowance, and more.

And it doesn’t stop there. Other examples of income could include medical premium benefits, payments from the registered disability savings plan (RDSP), the Apprenticeship incentive grant, death benefits, payments from a registered education savings plan (RESP), or a tax-free savings account (TFSA).

Some of these payments represent taxable income and need to be included on your tax return and that’s what the T4A is for.

What are some examples of other important T4 slips?

As mentioned, the “T4 family” is large. Aside from the T4A, other important forms include the T4A(P) specifically for reporting Canada Pension Plan (CPP)/Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) benefits and the T4A(OAS) for Old Age Security payments.

You should also study up on the “T4” slips below to know why they differ from the T4A:

Since the plain T4A slip covers many different tax areas, that’s the one we’ll continue to focus on.

How do I fill out the T4A?

The T4A form can be lengthy—it has dozens of different boxes to describe the item it’s reporting. To help, here’s a breakdown of how to understand it. Everything from scholarships to medical travel to Veteran’s Benefits has a spot on a T4A. 

Get ready for boxes, boxes, and (you guessed it!)… more boxes. Let’s look at some of the most common ones:

Box 16 – Pension or superannuation

If you have paid into a company pension plan or superannuation fund, when you start receiving benefits from the plan, they will be reported in Box 16 of a T4A slip. These benefits may qualify for the Pension Income Amount and Pension Income Splitting with Your Spouse.

Box 20 – Self-employed commissions (or Box 48 – Fees for services)

If you receive a T4A with Box 20 or Box 48 amounts, you are indeed self-employed for tax purposes as both of these boxes are used exclusively to report self-employment income. You’re either a contractor or you’ve earned income from commission-based activities.

Having a T4A with Box 20 or 48 means that you’re required to complete a bit of extra info at tax time. Since you’re self-employed, you’ll complete the business form T2125 – Statement of Business Activities. The upside is you can also claim expenses to offset that income on that form. For more information, check out the Guidelines for reporting Self-Employment Income.

Box 034 – Pension adjustment

This amount is not an income or deduction but must be entered on Line 20600 of your tax return to calculate your pension adjustment (PA) amount.

Box 042 – RESP educational assistance payments

Educational assistance payments (EAPs) from a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) are shown in Box 042 and reported on Line 13000 – Other Income of your tax return.

Box 105 – Scholarships, bursaries, fellowships, artists’ project grants, and prizes

You may have heard a rumour that your scholarship/bursary is tax-free. Not quite—but close!

If you were a full-time student, your scholarship/bursary income is exempt from tax in most cases in all provinces except Québec. However, you do need to enter the T4A information on your tax return. So when you enter your T4A income, choose the option for Box 105 that applies to full-time students to make sure you’re not paying tax on this tax-exempt income.

If you were a part-time student, some or all of your T4A scholarship/bursary income may be exempt. At least $500 will be exempt in most cases. The amount depends on how much your courses cost and how much scholarship/bursary income you received.

Box 107 – Payments from a wage-loss replacement plan

If you receive benefits from a wage loss replacement plan (WLRP), such as Short-Term Disability (STD), Long-Term Disability (LTD), or Weekly Indemnity (WI), you will receive a T4A and report these amounts on Line 10400 of your tax return.

Box 118 – Medical premium benefits

If your former employer pays for your provincial or government medical premiums, the amount paid is included as taxable “other employment income” on Line 10400 of your tax return. (These premiums are not eligible medical expenses).

Box 119 – Premiums paid to a group term life Insurance plan

If your former employer pays for your group term life insurance plan premiums, the amount paid is included as taxable “other employment income” on  Line 10400 of your tax return.

Box 135 – Recipient-paid premiums for private health services plans

If your former employer pays for your private health services plans (PHSP or extended medical/dental), you will receive a T4A with the amount in Box 135. You can claim these premiums as an eligible medical expense deduction on Line 33099 of your tax return.

File with confidence

Get advice and answers as you go, with a final tax expert review before you file.