Regulations 102 and 105 Withholdings for Payments to Non-Residents: Navigating Canadian Tax Obligations

A cartoon illustration of a businessman and a woman at a desk discussing Regulations 102 and 105 Withholdings for Payments to Non-Residents.

Regulations 102 and 105 Withholdings for Payments to Non-Residents: Navigating Canadian Tax Obligations

Sebastien Prost, CPA

Canada imposes specific withholding tax obligations on payments made to non-residents for services rendered within the country, which are delineated under Regulations 102 and 105 of the Canadian Income Tax Act. These regulations ensure that Canada collects the appropriate amount of tax on income earned within its borders by those who are not Canadian residents.

Regulation 102 requires payers to withhold an amount from employment income paid to non-resident employees working in Canada, while Regulation 105 mandates the withholding of tax on payments made to non-residents for independent services provided in Canada. The standard withholding rate under Regulation 105 is 15%, reflecting the non-resident’s obligation to pay Canadian income tax on income derived from Canadian sources.

The responsibility to withhold and remit taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency falls upon the Canadian payer, and failure to comply with these obligations can result in penalties and interest. It is important for both Canadian payers and non-resident service providers to understand their tax obligations under Regulations 102 and 105 to ensure compliance with Canadian tax law.

Overview of Regulations 102 and 105

Regulation 102 and Regulation 105 are Canadian tax regulations that pertain to payments made to non-resident individuals and entities for services rendered within Canada.

Regulation 102 addresses withholdings related to employment income. Employers are required to withhold tax on employment income paid to non-resident employees who work in Canada. This regulation ensures that Canada can collect taxes on income earned within its borders by individuals who are not residents of Canada.

Regulation 105 focuses on payments for services that are not related to employment. A Canadian payer, or a payer who is a non-resident but does business in Canada, must withhold 15% on payments to non-resident service providers. This includes fees, commissions, or other amounts for services performed in Canada. The main objective is to ensure that Canada receives taxes on these services, regardless of the resident status of the service provider.

Withholding Rate
For employment income to non-residents
Varies by tax treaty
For service fees to non-residents
15% (unless altered by tax treaty)


These regulations are part of Canada’s efforts to apply its tax system fairly and accurately to both residents and non-residents. They reflect the principle that income earned within Canada should be subject to Canadian taxes, while simultaneously acknowledging the complexities of international labor and service provision. Tax treaty provisions may modify withholding requirements, providing for lower rates or exemptions in certain cases.

Regulation 102: Withholding Requirements

Regulation 102 mandates withholding taxes on payments to non-residents employees for services rendered in Canada. It ensures tax compliance and the appropriate handling of due taxes prior to income distribution.

Applicability of Regulation 102

Non-residents employees providing services in Canada are subject to Regulation 102 withholding requirements. The payer must withhold taxes regardless of the non-resident’s time spent in Canada unless a waiver of withholding tax has been issued. There are also certain provisions of tax treaties Canada has entered into that may reduce the withholding rate or completely exempt income under certain thresholds.

Filing Regulation 102 Withholding Returns

Payers must file a T4 summary return and issue a T4 slip to the employee for each tax year that Regulation 102 applies.

Remittance of Withheld Taxes

Withheld taxes must be remitted to the CRA by the 15th of the month following payment to the non-resident. Failure to remit on time can result in penalties and interest charges. Employers should use the remittance form provided by the CRA for accurate processing.

Regulation 105: Withholding Obligations

Regulation 105 imposes a duty on payers to withhold a portion of the payment made to non-residents for services provided in Canada.

Scope of Regulation 105

Regulation 105 applies to all payments made to non-resident individuals, partnerships, or corporations for services rendered in Canada. The payer, whether Canadian or non-resident, must withhold a percentage of the payment to comply with Canada’s Income Tax Act. This withholding serves as an advance on potential income tax liabilities of the non-resident.

Determining Payment Categories

Payments subject to Regulation 105 withholding include:

  • Fees for professional services such as consulting or legal advice
  • Fees for technical services, like engineering or IT support
  • It’s important that each payment is categorized properly to determine the appropriate withholding tax.

Compliance Procedures

Payers must:

  1. Withhold 15% of the gross amount paid to non-residents for services in Canada.
  2. Remit the withheld funds to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) within a specific time frame.
  3. Provide a T4A-NR slip to the non-resident and file a T4A-NR summary with the CRA.

Waiver Application Process

Non-residents may apply for a waiver or a reduction of the amount required to be withheld under Regulation 105. This requires submitting a form R105, ideally 30 days before the service is provided or 30 days before the first payment is received for those services. Applicants must demonstrate that the withholding tax exceeds their potential Canadian tax liability.

Withholding Exemptions and Reductions

In the context of Canadian tax law, Regulation 105 and Regulation 102 require withholdings on payments to non-resident entities for services rendered in Canada. Nevertheless, certain exemptions and reductions can be applicable under specific conditions.

Treaty-Based Exemptions

Canada’s Tax Treaties can provide relief from withholding tax under Regulations 102 and 105. When a non-resident provides services in Canada, they are typically subject to a 15% withholding tax. However, if a tax treaty between Canada and the non-resident’s country exists, the treaty may reduce or eliminate this withholding requirement. For instance, the non-resident may be considered not to have a permanent establishment in Canada which would make it exempt from Regulation 105 withholding tax. In those situations, the non-resident company could get a refund of that tax by filing a T2 return along with Schedule 91, Information Concerning Claims for Treaty-Based Exemptions as well as Schedule 97, Additional Information on Non-Resident Corporations in Canada.

Reduced Rate Eligibility

Eligibility for a reduced withholding rate may arise in the event of pre-existing reciprocal tax agreements between Canada and the non-resident’s home jurisdiction. Such agreements often stipulate reduced rates, which vary between agreements and specific types of services. Non-resident entities should apply for reduced rates through the Canada Revenue Agency before the payment for services is made to benefit from this concession.

Beneficiaries of Exemptions

The beneficiaries of withholding tax exemptions under Regulations 102 and 105 typically include:

  • Non-resident corporations that are eligible for treaty benefits
  • Individual non-residents who are residents in a country that has a tax treaty with Canada
  • Non-resident artists and athletes performing in Canada who may apply for a simplified waiver process

Each beneficiary must comply with the Canada Revenue Agency’s procedural requirements to obtain the exemption, which may include filing appropriate forms or delivering relevant documentation proving their eligibility.

Regulation 102 Waiver Application

Non-resident employees can apply for a waiver or a reduction in withholding tax if they believe that the withholding tax will exceed their Canadian income tax liability.

To apply for a waiver, the non-resident employee must submit Form R102-R, “Regulation 102 Waiver Application”, to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) before the payment of the employment income. The application should include details about the duration of the work in Canada, the nature of the duties, and the anticipated income. The CRA reviews the application considering the employee’s residency status, ties to Canada, and potential tax treaty relief. If the waiver is approved, the employer receives authorization to reduce or eliminate the withholding tax.

Regulation 105 Waiver Application

Non-residents can apply for a waiver or reduction of these withholdings by submitting Form R105, “Regulation 105 Waiver Application”, to the CRA before the service is rendered. The waiver application should provide details about the nature of the services, the contract value, the duration of the services in Canada, and the applicant’s tax status. The CRA assesses if the non-resident is liable for Canadian income tax on the income received. If the CRA determines that the non-resident’s tax liability will be less than the withholding tax, they may issue a waiver or reduce the withholding rate.

Administrative Guidelines

This section provides an overview of the administrative procedures concerning Regulations 102 and 105 withholding for payments made to non-residents for services rendered in Canada.

Filing Deadlines

It is mandatory for payers to comply with specific filing deadlines under Regulation 105. They must remit the withheld amounts to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on or before the 15th day of the month following the month in which payment to the non-resident was made. Failure to do so can result in penalties and interest charges.

Documentation Requirements

Payers must ensure correct and timely documentation. This involves the following:

  • Form NR4: A statement of amounts paid to non-residents should be filed by payers, detailing the gross amounts paid and the tax withheld.
  • Form T4A-NR: Issued for services provided in Canada by non-residents to report the amounts paid and withholding tax.
  • Waiver Applications: When applicable, a waiver or a reduction of withholding tax must be properly documented and timely filed with CRA.

Dispute Resolution

In case of a dispute regarding withholdings under Regulation 105:

  • Initial Assessment: Taxpayers should first review the initial CRA assessment and clearly understand the grounds for the disagreement.
  • Objections: Taxpayers can file an objection with the CRA detailing the reasons for their dispute.
  • Documentation: They must support their objection with relevant documents, legislation excerpts, and facts.
  • Resolution Process: The CRA’s dispute resolution process includes dialogue and, if unresolved at this level, may lead to recourse to the Tax Court of Canada.

Enforcement and Penalties

In Canada, entities that fail to comply with Regulations 102 and 105 regarding withholdings for non-residents can face rigorous enforcement actions including financial penalties and accumulated interest.

Non-Compliance Consequences

Regulations 102 and 105 impose a duty on payers to withhold and remit amounts for services rendered in Canada by non-residents. If an entity neglects this responsibility, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can enforce measures to secure compliance, which can lead to significant financial implications for the payer.

Interest and Penalties

The CRA assesses interest on late or insufficient withholdings at the prescribed rate from the day after the due date until the payment is fully remitted. In addition to interest, penalties are levied for non-compliance:

  • The penalty for failing to deduct or withhold the required amount starts at 10% of the amount not withheld.
  • This penalty increases to 20% if the omission was made knowingly or due to gross negligence.

Voluntary Disclosures Program

The Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) allows payers who have not complied with the withholding requirements a limited opportunity to correct their affairs voluntarily. Payers can come forward without penalty or prosecution if they meet the program’s conditions:

  1. The disclosure must be voluntary.
  2. It should be complete, disclosing all non-compliant activities.
  3. The information must involve a potential penalty.
  4. The disclosure must include information that is at least one year past due.

By participating in the VDP, an entity can avoid penalties and prosecution but is still required to pay the taxes owed, along with accrued interest.

Regulatory Updates

Canadian tax regulations mandate the withholding of a percentage of payments made to non-residents for services rendered within Canada. These requirements, primarily defined under Regulations 102 and 105, ensure compliance with the Income Tax Act.

Recent Changes

Recent alterations to these regulations have not been widely publicized; however, there have been nuances in their application concerning the types of services and entities affected. Regulation 105 dictates that a 15% withholding tax is applicable to payments made to non-residents for services conducted in Canada. This rate is consistent unless a tax treaty specifies otherwise.

Anticipated Reforms

While no imminent reforms have been officially announced, tax professionals anticipate that forthcoming changes may focus on streamlining compliance procedures for payers. Such reforms could potentially simplify the process of remitting and reporting taxes for payers engaged with non-residents. It is crucial for individuals and businesses to stay informed on potential updates to ensure they remain compliant with any changes in the tax code.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, readers will find concise answers to common questions regarding Regulation 102 and Regulation 105, which are pertinent to withholding tax requirements for non-residents providing services in Canada.

What are the main differences between Regulation 102 and Regulation 105 when it comes to withholdings for non-residents in Canada?

Regulation 102 pertains to withholding taxes on employment income paid to non-residents employed in Canada, whereas Regulation 105 focuses on payments made to non-residents for services rendered in Canada outside of an employment relationship.

What are the compliance requirements for Regulation 102 withholding?

Employers must withhold tax from the salary or wages paid to non-resident employees performing duties in Canada. The employer is responsible for remitting these withholdings to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as per the prescribed deadlines.

How does one apply for a Regulation 105 waiver and what are the guidelines?

A non-resident can apply for a waiver from Regulation 105 withholding by submitting a waiver application to the CRA before the service is rendered. The guidelines surrounding the waiver consider whether the non-resident is eligible for tax treaty benefits among other criteria.

Are non-residents subject to withholding tax for services provided outside of Canada under Regulation 105?

No, non-residents are not subject to Regulation 105 withholding tax for services that are rendered outside of Canada. This regulation exclusively applies to services provided physically within Canadian borders.

What forms must be submitted for Regulation 105 withholding tax?

Non-residents must submit Form T4A-NR, Payments to Non-Residents for Services Provided in Canada, to report amounts paid or credited to non-residents for services provided in Canada.

How does the Canada Revenue Agency calculate non-resident withholding tax?

The Canada Revenue Agency calculates non-resident withholding tax at a flat rate of 15% on the gross payment for the service provided in Canada.

Sebastien Prost, CPA

Written by Sebastien Prost, CPA

Seb Prost, a CPA with over 10 years of experience in taxation and accounting, offers a unique blend of insights from his time at the CRA and his experience in public practice. Originally from QC and now based in Nelson, BC, he specializes in guiding Canadian startups, SaaS companies and other online businesses for all of their accounting and taxation needs.

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