What is the Difference Between T3, T4, T4A and T5 Slips?

A colorful piggy bank with a coin on top that represents the T3, T4 and T5 slips.

What is the Difference Between T3, T4, T4A and T5 Slips?

Sebastien Prost, CPA

In Canada, tax reporting involves various forms, each serving a unique purpose for taxpayers and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Among these are the T3, T4, T4A, and T5 slips, which are essential for individual tax filing. These slips are all different in the information they convey but are unified in their role to communicate taxpayers’ income to the CRA.

The T4 slip, known as the Statement of Remuneration Paid, reports employment income and is provided by employers to their employees. It includes wages, bonuses, and other forms of compensation along with deductions made throughout the year, such as income tax, Employment Insurance, and Canada Pension Plan contributions.

In contrast, the T4A slip, or Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income, serves a broader purpose. It records various forms of income that are not covered by the T4 slip, such as pension payments and other types of earnings, which may not come from a traditional employer-employee relationship. The T5 slip communicates investment income, including interest, dividends, and royalties, paid or credited to the taxpayer. Meanwhile, the T3 Statement of Trust Income Allocations and Designations is given to beneficiaries of trusts, reporting amounts such as the trust’s income and capital gains allocated to them. Each slip is integral to accurately filing an individual’s tax return and understating their full income picture for the year.

Overview of Canada’s Tax Slip System

In Canada, tax slips are official documents that report income and deductions for the fiscal year. They play a critical role in the tax-filing process for individuals and businesses. The proper identification and use of these slips are essential for accurate tax reporting and compliance.

T3 slips report income from trust allocations and distributions, while T4 slips are used to declare employment income, including salaries, wages, and other remuneration paid to employees. Employers must issue T4 slips to their employees by the February 28 deadline following the calendar year to which the slips apply.

T4A slips differ from T4s as they report pension, retirement, annuity, and other income—which is often for non-employment scenarios like self-employment earnings. Unlike the T4, T4A slips may not show deductions for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI), potentially requiring separate filing by the recipient.

Lastly, T5 slips communicate investment income such as dividends and interest paid to investors.

Slip Type
Trust income allocations and distributions
Employment income and deductions
Pension and other non-employment income
Investment income


Taxpayers should ensure they include information from all relevant slips in their tax return. If a taxpayer has multiple income sources, they may receive several slips across these categories. Correct reporting ensures compliance with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations and accurate assessment of taxes.

Understanding T3 Slips

T3 slips are crucial for Canadians to report certain types of income. They specifically pertain to income earned from trust funds.

Purpose of T3 Slips

The T3 slip, formally known as the Statement of Trust Income Allocations and Designations, is used by trusts to report the amounts disbursed to their beneficiaries. These slips indicate various types of distributions that a beneficiary may need to report on their tax return, including income and tax credits. Trusts are required to issue a T3 slip to each beneficiary for them to accurately complete their personal income tax returns.

Typical Recipients of T3 Slips

Individuals who receive income allocations from estates, trusts, or mutual fund trusts are typically the recipients of T3 slips. This does not include employees or independent contractors, but rather beneficiaries of the aforementioned income sources. For example, if a person is a beneficiary of a mutual fund trust, they should expect to receive a T3 slip to report distributions such as Return of Capital (ROC) or income from the trust.

Insights into T4 Slips

The T4 slip is a critical document for both employers and employees in Canada, outlining the employment income and deductions for the year.

Purpose of T4 Slips

A T4 slip, formally known as the Statement of Remuneration Paid, is issued by employers to confirm the amount of income earned by an employee during a tax year. Its primary purpose is to inform the employee and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) of the total income before deductions, including any additional earnings like bonuses or commissions. Employers must provide a T4 slip by the end of February following the calendar year to which the information relates.

Key Information on T4 Slips

The crucial details provided on T4 slips can be itemized as follows:

  • Box 14 – Employment Income: It records the total income before taxes and other deductions.
  • Box 22 – Income Tax Deducted: This includes federal, provincial, or territorial income tax withheld by the employer.
  • Box 26 – CPP Contributions: It shows the amount of Canada Pension Plan contributions deducted from the employee’s pay.
  • Box 18 – EI Premiums: This indicates Employment Insurance premiums deducted.

Employers are also required to include other relevant deductions and contributions that affect an employee’s taxable income. Each slip must be accurate, ensuring employees can correctly report their income and claim eligible deductions when filing their personal income tax returns.

Exploring T4A Slips

A T4A slip reports various types of income not covered by T4 slips, such as pension, retirement, annuity, and self-employed commissions, which are crucial for accurate tax reporting in Canada.

Purpose of T4A Slips

T4A slips are tax forms used to report certain types of income to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that are not included in traditional employment earnings. These incomes may include but are not limited to pension, retirement, annuity, and self-employed commissions. They serve to inform both the taxpayer and the CRA of the amounts to be considered for taxation which are not reported on T4 slips, primarily related to non-employment activities.

Distinguishing Features of T4A Slips

The T4A slip is distinguished by the various income types it covers. For example:

  • Pension or superannuation
  • Lump-sum payments such as awards or bursaries
  • The self-employed commissions are listed separately from employment income
  • Annuity payments
  • Other income such as research grants or income from a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

It’s important for individuals to recognize the specific instances in which a T4A would be issued to them, as this will impact how they file their taxes and claim potential deductions or credits.

Deciphering T5 Slips

A T5 slip documents investment income such as interest or dividends paid to Canadian residents.

Purpose of T5 Slips

The T5 slip serves the critical function of reporting investment income to both the taxpayer and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It informs them of the exact amount of income generated from various investments like corporate shares, bonds, and bank accounts held outside of registered accounts.

Common Uses of T5 Slips

Investors use the T5 slip to report the following types of income on their tax returns:

  • Interest: from bank accounts or corporate bonds.
  • Dividends: distributed by Canadian corporations.
  • Foreign investment income: converted to Canadian dollars.

The information on T5 slips ensures accurate taxation on investment income, thus playing a vital role in the completion of an individual’s annual tax filing.

Comparative Analysis

This section delves into the specific differences between T3, T4, T4A, and T5 slips, focusing on their issuing bodies, income types they report, and their relevance to different groups of taxpayers.

Differences in Issuing Entities

T3 slips are typically issued by trusts to detail the types of income that beneficiaries receive from the trust. Conversely, T4 slips are provided by employers to their employees to outline employment income, including salaries and wages. The T4A is similar to the T4 but is generally for pension, retirement, annuity, and other income sources, often provided by payers other than standard employers. T5 slips are issued by various entities for investment income, such as interest or dividends.

Variations in Reporting Income Types

Each slip reports on various income types:

  • T3: Allocates distributed trust income, including interest, dividends, capital gains, and other investment-related incomes.
  • T4: Details employment income, as well as deductions like Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, and income tax paid.
  • T4A: Reports pension, retirement, annuity, and other similar income types.
  • T5: Focuses solely on investment income such as interest, dividends from Canadian corporations, and foreign income.

Applicability for Taxpayers

The applicability of these slips varies:

  • T3: Needed for individuals who are beneficiaries of certain types of trusts.
  • T4: Mandatory for employees receiving salary or wages.
  • T4A: Relevant for retirees or individuals who receive pension-related income or scholarships.
  • T5: Essential for investors receiving income from securities, such as bonds or stocks.

Filing Implications

When preparing Canadian tax returns, individuals and entities must be aware of specific deadlines, adhere to compliance requirements, and understand the process for correcting any errors on tax slips such as T3, T4, T4A, and T5.

Deadlines for Each Tax Slip

  • T4 & T4A slips: Employers and payers must issue these forms by February 28 following the calendar year to which they apply.
  • T5 slips: These must be sent by February 28 as well, reporting eligible investment income earned in the previous year.
  • T3 slips: Trusts must distribute these by 90 days after the end of the trust’s tax year.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to provide these tax slips by the deadline can result in penalties from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The penalty is based on:

  • The number of slips late: It ranges from $100 to $7,500, increasing with the number of slips and the tardiness period.

Amendment Process for Errors

If an error is found on a tax slip once filed, the issuer must:

  • File an amended return as soon as possible.
  • Use the appropriate form or electronic service to correct the information previously submitted.
  • A correction to a T4, T4A, or T5 slip can typically be done through the CRA’s electronic services, while T3 adjustments may require contacting the CRA’s Trust Accounts Programs.

Utilization in Tax Returns

Canadian tax slips T3, T4, T4A, and T5 are crucial documents for an individual’s tax return. Each slip reports different types of income and affects tax calculations in distinct ways.

Incorporating Slips into Tax Return

When a taxpayer is preparing their tax return, they must enter the information from the T3, T4, T4A, and T5 slips accurately. The T4 slip reports the income an individual earned from employment, including taxable benefits, which directly influences the tax liability. It is important to utilize the precise amounts from the T4 slip as they impact the overall income reported.

The T3 slip is used for declaring income from trusts, while the T4A provides information on pension, retirement, annuity, and other income. These slips should be added to other sources of income to form a complete picture of an individual’s annual earnings.

Investment income, such as interest and dividends, is reported on the T5 slip. Each slip has its specific line on the tax return form where the corresponding amount must be reported.

Adjustments to Tax Deductions and Credits

Entering information from tax slips may lead to adjustments in tax deductions and credits. Contributions made to an RRSP can be deducted from income, which is typically reported on a T4 or T4A slip. This can lower taxable income and potentially reduce tax liability.

Taxpayers do not need to have earned income to contribute to a TFSA, and contributions are not deductible. Therefore, TFSA contributions do not directly affect the deductions and credits on the taxpayer’s return. However, it is important to declare all eligible income and contributions to accurately calculate deductions and credits, which may include education credits, donation credits, or credits for medical expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Taxpayers in Canada use T3, T4, T4A, and T5 slips to report different types of income for tax purposes. Each slip has a distinct role in the tax reporting process and is used by different payers to report income paid to individuals.

How are T3, T4, T4A, and T5 slips used for tax reporting purposes?

T3 slips are issued for income from trusts, while T4 slips are for employment income. T4A slips report pension, retirement, annuity, and other types of income, and T5 slips cover investment income. Taxpayers use these slips to accurately report income on their tax returns.

What information is reported on a T4 slip and who receives it?

A T4 slip reports an employee’s income earned from employment, along with deductions taken for CPP/QPP contributions, Employment Insurance, and income tax. Employers issue T4 slips to their employees for the income earned during a tax year.

How does a T4A slip differ from a T4 slip in terms of employment income reporting?

The T4A slip reports income that is not from traditional employment, such as pensions, retirement benefits, and other payments like scholarships or bursaries. Independent workers may receive this slip for services rendered if they are not classified as employees.

In what situations would a taxpayer receive a T5 slip and what income does it represent?

Taxpayers receive a T5 slip if they have earned investment income, such as dividends, interest from bank accounts, or bonds. Companies or financial institutions distribute T5 slips to individuals who have received income from investments during the tax year.

Can individuals receive both T3 and T5 slips, and how do they reflect different income types?

Individuals can receive both T3 and T5 slips if they earn income from trusts (T3) and investment income (T5). While a T3 slip relates to trust income such as estate income distributions, a T5 reflects income from investments like interest or dividends.

What are the implications for a trust or corporation issuing T3 or T5 slips?

Trusts and corporations have the obligation to issue T3 slips for distributions to beneficiaries and T5 slips for investment income paid. Failure to issue these slips can result in penalties and incorrect income reporting by taxpayers.

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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