Business Income, Income & Investments, Tax Basics

Your Complete Guide to the T4A Tax Slip

Types of T4 Slips

Most income has a specific slip that’s issued at tax time to report the income amount and any deductions.

The Most Canadian Tax Slip, a T4A (eh?)

A T4A is a catch-all slip. If an amount doesn’t go on another slip, it ends up on a T4A – Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other 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.

Versions of T4As

There are actually four different types of T4As:

Since the plain T4A – Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity and Other Income covers many different tax areas, that’s the one we’ll focus on.

Boxes, Boxes and (you guessed it!) More Boxes

Because a T4A slip is used to cover so many different scenarios, it has literally dozens of different boxes to describe the item it’s reporting. Everything from scholarships to medical travel to Veteran’s Benefits has a spot on a T4A. 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. More information can be found in this TurboTax article: Guidelines for reporting Self-Employment Income.

Box 034 – Pension Adjustment:

If you have an amount in Box 20 of your T4 slip for Registered Pension Plan contributions, you may receive a T4A with an amount in Box 034. This amount is not an income or deduction, but must be entered on Line 20600 of your tax return for calculation of your Pension Adjustment Amount.

Box 042 – RESP Educational Assistance Payments

Educational Assistance Payments 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 Quebec. 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 FT 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. How much exactly 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, 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 an eligible medical expense deduction).

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.

Boxes 197 through 204 – COVID Related Benefits

These boxes have been added for benefits you have received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more detailed information on these benefits, please review  TurboTax Canada – COVID & Tax Information

The full list of T4A income sources and the box numbers:

So how do you know if you’re supposed to be getting a T4A? The full list of T4A income sources and the boxes they are entered in are in this CRA link: the T4A Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income.