Business Income, Income & Investments, Tax Basics

Your Complete Guide to the Most Canadian Tax Slip, the T4A (T4 eh?)

Most income has a specific slip that’s issued at tax time to report the income amount and any deductions. A T4 – Statement of Remuneration slip records your employment income and your source deductions like Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, Employment Insurance (EI) premiums and income tax deducted. If you withdraw money from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), a T4RSP – Statement of RRSP Income slip is issued. If you received EI benefits, you’ll receive a T4E – Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits slip.

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

Versions of T4As

There are actually four different types of T4As.

Since the plain T4A 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 common ones:

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

If you’re a university or college student, your scholarships and bursaries are reported on a T4A. 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 20 – Self Employed Commissions and Box 48 – Fees for Services

Without a doubt, the most popular T4A question asked on our online TurboTax Help forum is “Why does TurboTax think I’m self-employed?” The answer is a simple one. “Because you are!”

If you receive a T4A with Box 20 or 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 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.

Boxes 197 through 204 – CERB

These boxes have been added for CERB benefits you have received throughout the COVID outbreak.

  • Box 197, Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
  • Box 198 & 199 Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
  • Box 200, Provincial/Territorial COVID-19 financial assistance payments
  • Box 202, Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
  • Box 203, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
  • Box 204, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

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

Will I Receive a T4A?

So how do you know if you’re supposed to be getting a T4A? The full list of T4A items can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency’s webpage. If your income is listed, you’re likely going to receive a T4A.

What Edition of TurboTax Is Right for Me?

Answer a few simple questions on our product recommender and we can help guide you to the right edition that will reflect your individual circumstances.

You can always start your return in TurboTax Free, and if you feel the need for additional assistance, you can upgrade to any of our paid editions or get live help from an expert with our Assist & Review or Full Service*. But don’t worry, while using the online version of the software when you choose to upgrade, your information is instantly carried over so you can pick up right where you left off.

*TurboTax Live™ Full Service is not available in Quebec.