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Overview of T4 Slips in Canada

Written by Jessica Steer
If you’re employed in Canada, chances are you’ve received a T4 slip before. These slips are given yearly for tax purposes to break down how much you’ve made when you file your annual income tax return.
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    That said, T4 slips are only given if you have an employer; if you're self-employed, you won’t receive one. You’ll have to calculate the amounts you’ve paid and owe yourself. 

    When do You Receive T4 Slips?

    T4 slips (required by the Income Tax Act) are issued at the same time every year. According to the CRA, your employer has until the end of February to administer these. There are a few different ways that you may receive these slips:

    • Paper copy directly
    • Paper copy via mail
    • Electronic copy via email
    • Electronic copy via their online portal

    You may receive some slips after the end of February, but you should receive most of them by then, especially the ones from your employer. 

    Who You Receive T4 Slips From

    You’ll receive T4 slips from any employer you worked for during the current tax year. You also receive T4s from any other permanent income streams, such as:

    • Pensions
    • CPP (Canada Pension Plan)
    • OAS (Old Age Security)
    • Long term disability

    You may not receive T4s for other forms of income, but you will receive some sort of tax slip containing your tax information to correctly file your income tax return. 

    Getting T4 and T4A slips from Service Canada

    If you’re looking to receive your T4 or T4A from Service Canada, they should be received in the mail by the end of February. If you didn’t receive yours or want to file your taxes earlier, you can download your slips in electronic format directly from your My Service Canada Account. Specifically, you can get your OAS, CPP and EI (Employment Insurance) T4 slips using your MSCA account. 

    Getting T4 Slips from Previous Employers

    To get your T4 slip from your previous employer, there are a few different ways you can go about it. The most common way is to contact them directly. They may not have your current address on file and couldn’t send it to you. Another way you can get it is by checking your MSCA account. 

    In Canada, employers must send off their T4 slips and provide copies to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) by the end of February. You can see a copy in your account once the slip is filed and sent to the CRA. Whether you use an accountant to file your taxes or use tax software and do it yourself, you can upload all of your T4s and data directly from your MSCA account instead of inputting the information. Because of this, you should be able to use your T4 even if you don’t have a physical copy. That said, you must have access to your MSCA to use this method. 

    How To Read a T4 Slip

    At first glance, your T4 slip can be a bit confusing to read. Each box has its own meaning, and there’s a guide on the back to help you decipher this. Let’s take a look at what’s included on your slip. Before we do that, though, it’s important to remember that not everyone will have the same information filled out or the same amounts reported. They will all look a little different. 

    That said, at the top of your T4, you’ll notice that it will contain your address (employee’s) and your name. It will also include the company's name and address. 

    Box #Meaning
    14This is your total salary before taxes and deductions (gross income).
    16How much you paid in CPP for the tax year. 
    17This shows Quebec residents how much they paid to the QPP Quebec Pension Plan. 
    18The amount you paid in EI premiums.
    20The amount you paid to a Registered Pension Plan if you have one. 
    22This amount is the income tax deducted. 
    44Union dues
    46Donations to charities
    52Pension adjustment (Deferred Profit Sharing Plans)
    84Public transit pass amounts
    85Employees paid premiums for health plans. 
    66Eligible retirement allowance
    77WCB Benefits amounts repaid to your employer,
    71Indian employment income (Exempt)
    55Provincial Parental Insurance Plan (Quebec)

    The purpose of your T4 slip is to establish what you earned and what you paid in taxes. From there, you’ll determine if you owe more tax or qualify for a tax refund. Once that’s done, you file your tax return with the CRA and either wait for your return or pay the balance owing.

    While your T4 isn’t submitted when you file your taxes, it’s important. You should keep it; there may be information on there that you need later.

    Filling Out T4 Forms as an Employer

    You do not receive T4 slips as a business owner, but if you have employees, you’ll likely have to fill them out. You will have to provide current employees or anyone who worked for you within the tax year with a T4 slip if they receive remuneration paid (amounts paid to an employee by you). These types of payments include:

    • Salary
    • Wages
    • Tips
    • Commission
    • Bonuses
    • Vacation pay
    • Gross and insurable earnings of self-employed fishers
    • Taxable benefits/allowances
    • Any payments from a wage loss replacement plan
    • Retiring allowances
    • Any other remuneration amounts (other income)
    • Pay in lieu of termination notice

    The T4 will also include your company information, business name, and business address. Then, it will have the employee's name, employee's address (mailing address) and their SIN number. 

    However, there are situations where filing a T4 isn’t required. These include:

    1. Owning a construction company and paying subcontractors for goods and services rendered related to construction activities. For this situation, you would file a T5018 return. 
    2. You paid non-residents in Canada for services rendered (not director fees), not in employment situations. This requires a  T4A-NR Return.
    3. Your company provided retiring allowances to a non-resident. You would file an NR4 return).
    4. Your company paid amounts from a retirement compensation arrangement. In this case, you would file a T4A-RCA return. 
    5. Your company provides a former employer or someone who retired with taxable group life term insurance benefits. You only report this on a T4A if the amount exceeds $50. 
    6. You made payments to a proprietor or partner of an unincorporated business. These could include pensions, lump sum payments or annuities. In this case, you'd complete a T4A. 

    Filing T4s as a Business Owner

    As a business owner, you must file your T4s by the last day of February unless that day falls on a weekend. You then have until the next business day. After that, you will receive a penalty. The minimum penalty is $100 and will increase for each day you’re late. 

    In terms of filing your T4s with the CRA, there are a few different ways to do so. That said, if you file more than 50 T4s per calendar year, then there’s mandatory electronic filing for you. 


    You can file electronically using web forms or internet file transfer. To do so, though, you must have a web access code. If you don’t have a web access code, as the business owner, you can file using your CRA My Business account on the CRA website. You will need your account number, also referred to as your business number, to do this. You can also have someone file for you as long as they’re an authorized representative or an employee ( such as the payroll department or someone in charge of making payroll deductions). If you file online, you won’t need to send paper copies of the T4’s. 

    Web Forms

    If you use Web Forms, you can upload up to 100 slips. To do so, you will need your payroll program account number and the web access code for your account. 

    Internet File Transfer

    With Internet File Transfer, you can submit up to 150 MB XML files using third-party software or creating them yourself. To sign in to Internet File Transfer, you will need your payroll account number and the web access code for your account. 


    When it comes time to file your taxes, you won’t just receive a T4 for your primary source of income; you will receive a T4 for any income you earned during that tax year. This is because you have to report income from any source you’ve earned. If you don’t receive your T4, you should be able to see it on your MSCA account. Here, you will also see T4s and NOAs from previous tax years. Even if you haven’t received the paper copies, you can use these to file your annual tax return

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