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The Ultimate Guide to T4 Slips

Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman has been writing for over 20 years and investing for the past 10 years. He currently writes about personal finance and investing for Wealthsimple. Andrew's past work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine and Wired. Television appearances include NBC's Today show as well as Fox News. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Texas. He and his wife Robin live in Westport, Connecticut with their two boys and a Bedlington terrier. In his spare time, he hosts “The Originals" podcast.

Care to help us start a rumor? 2009’s Terminator Salvation, the fourth installment in the killer robot franchise, was originally going to be called T4, but then Arnold Schwarzenegger nixed it because he didn’t want audiences to think it was an action flick starring Canadian tax slips.

What are T4 slips?

If various tax slips were ever assembled in a police lineup, the T4 would be the one that gets picked out every time. Every Canadian adult who’s had a full time job would recognize the T4, the shorthand name for “Statement of Remuneration Paid” form. Right here on the CRA’s website, “T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid (slip),”you’ll find the T4’s official home. The slip includes your name, social insurance number and how much you were paid in a given year, as well as the amount of taxes that were withheld. Additionally, on the form, you’ll find scads of other financial information from a tax year–the amount of your contributions to a registered pension plan (RPP), union dues you paid, how much you contributed to Employment Insurance (EI), Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). The CRA sets out all the particulars on this page here.

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Who gets T4 slips?

Employers send T4s not only to you, the employee, they also provide identical copies to the CRA. Besides feelings of moral obligation, this is the big reason you really need to pay your taxes every year; you may feel invisible, but if you received a T4, the tax authorities know exactly how much you earned in any given year.

When do I receive my T4?

T4s are a pretty reliable bunch, arriving annually at the very beginning of March, a good eight weeks before tax day. If an employer mails in the slips, the T4s must be postmarked on the last day of February, or the employer will risk being assessed penalties.

Other T4 Slips

The T4 is the king of the jungle in an ecosystem of hundreds of slips. Completists may enjoy spending hours reviewing the CRA’s “forms listed by number” pagebut for brevity’s sake, we’ll acquaint you with a few of T4s more popular cousins. What do all these T slips have in common? They’re statements of income and both you and the CRA receive copies.

  • T3: statement of trust income allocations and designations

  • T4A: statement of freelance, pension, retirement, annuity or other income

  • T4A§: statement of Canada Pension Plan benefits.

  • T4A(OAS): statement of Old Age Security benefits.

  • T4RSP: statement of RRSP withdrawals

  • T4RIF: statement of Registered Retirement Income Fund income

  • T5: statement of investment income

The T4 form explained

The Most Important Boxes on the T4

We’re not big on playing favourites. We love all the boxes on the T4, and if you do too, check out the CRA’s guide that outlines the purpose of every box on the form.

But here are a select few T4 boxes that you’ll hear about quite a bit.

  • Box 14: employment income.

  • Box 16/Box 17: employee’s CPP/QPP contributions

  • Box 18: employee’s EI premiums

  • Box 20: RPP contributions

  • Box 46: charitable donations

  • Box 85: employee-paid premiums for private health service plan

How to get a T4 online

The absolute best way to access your current tax year T4 and past year T4 slips is through the CRA’s website. You’ll find T4 forms in the CRA’s personal taxpayer section known as “My Account,”an interface the agency explains is “a secure portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your tax affairs online.” There are two ways to sign in and access “My Account.” The first is you have an account with one of the sixteen big banks the CRA calls “sign in partners.” If you can access your account online, you can easily use that sign in info to get directly into the “My Account” section. The second method is by using a CRA user ID and password to log directly into the CRA website. If you don’t have a login and password (or have forgotten it) register for one here. To confirm you are indeed you, they’ll ask for your social insurance number as well as one of the figures from a past T4 slip. On its “Registration process to access the CRA login services” page, the CRA provides step-by-step instructions and various trouble shooting solutions.

How to get past T4 slips

If you’ve lost one or more T4 slips and need a copy, the absolute best place to retrieve them is through the “My Account” section on the CRA’s website. Directly above, in the “How to get a T4 online” section, you’ll find some detailed instructions on how to access the site. The CRA should have T4 slips dating back several years. If the information you’re seeking is missing, reach out to the human resources department of the current or former employer who issued the slip. They should be able to set you up.

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Last Updated October 29, 2019

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