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.
- T4A(P) – Statement of Canada Pension Plan Benefits.
- T4A(OAS) – Statement of Old Age Security.
- T4A-RCA Statement of Distributions from a Retirement Compensation Arrangement.
- And the plain, no-frills or extra letters T4A – Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income.
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
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.
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Jennifer is the Social Care Manager for TurboTax Canada. When she’s not helping customers on Facebook, Twitter, and TurboTax’s community forum AnswerXchange, Jennifer is busy researching the latest tax changes.
Jennifer has been preparing tax returns for over 30 years and enjoys holding tax seminars for seniors in her hometown of St. Vincent’s, Newfoundland.