T4145: Electing Under Section 217 of the Income Tax Act – 2020

From: Canada Revenue Agency

T4145(E) Rev. 20

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Is this pamphlet for you?

This pamphlet is for you if both of the following apply:

This pamphlet explains what a section 217 election is and how to determine if it is beneficial for you. It also explains how to complete a 2020 section 217 return.

Unless otherwise stated, all legislative references are to the Income Tax Act and the Income Tax Regulations.

Table of contents

Before you start

What is a section 217 election?

Canadian payers have to withhold non-resident tax on certain types of income they paid or credited to you as a non-resident of Canada. The tax withheld is usually your final tax obligation to Canada on this income and you do not have to file a Canadian income tax and benefit return to report it.

However, you can choose to file a Canadian return and report the types of Canadian-source income listed in the next section. You are then "electing under section 217 of the Income Tax Act." By doing this, you may pay tax on this income using a different method and may receive a refund of some or all of the non-resident tax withheld.

If you emigrated from Canada in 2020, see Leaving Canada (emigrants) for the special section 217 rules that apply to you.

If you immigrated to Canada in 2020, contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the special section 217 rules that apply to you. To find our address and telephone numbers, see Contact the Canada Revenue Agency.

What types of income are eligible for a section 217 election?

The section 217 election applies to the following types of Canadian-source income:

  • old age security pension (see note)
  • Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan benefits
  • most superannuation and pension benefits
  • most registered retirement savings plan payments
  • most pooled registered pension plan payments
  • most registered retirement income fund payments
  • death benefits
  • employment insurance benefits
  • certain retiring allowances
  • registered supplementary unemployment benefit plan payments
  • most deferred profit-sharing plan payments
  • amounts received from a retirement compensation arrangement, or the purchase price of an interest in a retirement compensation arrangement
  • prescribed benefits under a government assistance program
  • Auto Pact benefits

Note

Whether or not you elect to file a return under section 217, if you received old age security benefits, you may have to file Form T1136, Old Age Security Return of Income. For more information, see Guide T4155, Old Age Security Return of Income Guide for Non-Residents.

Is a section 217 election beneficial?

You will benefit from electing to file a return under section 217 if the total tax payable on line 43500 on your return is less than the tax you would otherwise pay if you did not make this election. When processing your return, we will take your election under section 217 into account only if it is beneficial.

To determine the tax you would otherwise pay if you did not make a section 217 election, add the following amounts:

To determine the total tax payable on your section 217 return, see Completing your section 217 return.

Form NR5 – Reducing tax withheld

If you intend to make a section 217 election on eligible income you have not received yet, you can apply for a reduction to the non‑resident tax the payer would otherwise have to withhold.

To do this, complete Form NR5, Application by a Non-Resident of Canada for a Reduction in the Amount of Non-Resident Tax Required to be Withheld, and send it to the CRA for approval on or before October 1, or before the first payment is due. If the CRA approves it, you must file a section 217 return for each year of the approval period.

Note

If approved, Form NR5 is valid for a period covering five tax years. However, if your situation changes during this period, you may have to file a new Form NR5. For more information, go to Form NR5 – 5-year Administrative Policy.

The CRA will use the information you give on Form NR5 to determine if a section 217 election will benefit you. If the CRA finds that the election is beneficial for you, it will authorize your Canadian payer(s) to reduce the amount of non-resident tax withheld from your benefits during the approval period.

Do you have to file a section 217 return?

You must file a section 217 return for each year of the period covered by the approved Form NR5, Application by a Non-Resident of Canada for a Reduction in the Amount of Non-Resident Tax Required to be Withheld.

However, even if you did not send Form NR5 for the year or the CRA did not approve it, you may still choose to file a section 217 return to apply for a refund of some or all of the non-resident tax withheld on the types of income listed under What types of income are eligible for a section 217 election?

Which tax guide should you use?

The Income Tax and Benefit Guide for Non-Residents and Deemed Residents of Canada has the return, schedules, and information you need to complete your section 217 return.

When is your section 217 return due?

Your 2020 section 217 return has to be filed on or before June 30, 2021.

However, if you have a balance owing for 2020, you have to pay it on or before April 30, 2021, to avoid interest charges.

If you send the CRA your 2020 return after June 30, 2021, according to the Income Tax Act, the CRA cannot accept your section 217 election. If this is your case and the required amount of non-resident tax was withheld on your eligible 217 income, the CRA will consider the amount withheld to be your final tax obligation to Canada on that income. However, if the payer withheld less than the required amount of tax, the CRA will send you an assessment for the difference.

Note

The due date for filing your section 217 return may be different if you also report other types of Canadian-source income on this return. These types could include employment or business income, net Canadian partnership income if you are a limited or non-active partner, or taxable capital gains from disposing of taxable Canadian property. For more information, see Due dates.

Completing your section 217 return

To complete your 2020 section 217 return, use the information in this section and the instructions in the Income Tax and Benefit Guide for Non-Residents and Deemed Residents of Canada.

Identification

Write "Section 217" at the top of page 1 of your return.

Complete the "Identification" area by following the instructions in the guide.

Income

On your return, include the following income:

Schedule C – Electing Under Section 217 of the Income Tax Act

Complete this schedule if you were a non-resident of Canada for the entire year and you are electing to file a return under section 217. Schedule C is divided into two parts that help calculate:

  • your section 217 eligible income after adjustments
  • the amount of non-resident tax a payer must withhold on your eligible section 217 income
  • the section 217 tax adjustment

Report your eligible section 217 income in Part 1 of Schedule C. In this part, also calculate the amount of non-resident tax you are required to pay on your eligible section 217 income. The amount you calculate may be different from the non-resident tax withheld on this income. This would be the case if the payer did not withhold the required amount of tax or if the CRA approved a reduction in the amount of tax to be withheld as a result of the Form NR5 you submitted.

Deductions

You can claim only the deductions that apply to you as a non-resident electing under section 217. For a list of deductions, see the Income Tax and Benefit Guide for Non-Residents and Deemed Residents of Canada.

Calculating federal tax

If you file a section 217 return, you must complete Schedule A, Statement of World Income, before you calculate your tax on your return.

Schedule A – Statement of World Income

Report your world income on Schedule A. World income is income from all sources inside and outside Canada.

Your income from Canadian sources is the total of your net income (line 23600 from your section 217 return), plus other types of Canadian-source income that are not included on this return (such as dividends, interest, rental income, or worker's compensation benefits).

Income from foreign sources (when the CRA mentions foreign source in this pamphlet, it is referring to sources outside Canada) includes income from employment, self-employment, pension, investment, rental, capital gains, and any other foreign-source income that you would have included on your return if you had been a resident of Canada. You report your foreign-source income on your Schedule A, but you may also use it on your return. For more information, see Step 5 – Federal Tax.

Example 1

Jeff is a resident of the United States. In 2020, Jeff's world income (in Canadian dollars) is made up of the following:

  • $18,000 from a pension plan in Canada
  • $500 in dividends from Canadian stocks
  • $500 interest from a savings account in the United States

Jeff elects to file a return under section 217 to have the pension income taxed at a lower rate. On the return, Jeff reports the $18,000 pension (eligible income for section 217). Since Jeff has no deductions, the taxable income on line 26000 of Jeff's return is $18,000.

Jeff does not report any bank interest or dividends on the return. The United States interest is not subject to tax in Canada but is reported on line 8 of Schedule A. The dividends from Canada are subject to non-resident withholding tax, which is Jeff's final tax obligation to Canada on that income, and is reported on line 2 of Schedule A.

When Jeff completes Schedule A, the net world income reported on line 14 and the net world income after adjustments reported on line 16 would be $19,000.

Step 5 – Federal Tax

To calculate your tax payable, which includes the surtax for non-residents and deemed residents of Canada, you need to complete your return included in the Income Tax and Benefit Guide for Non-Residents and Deemed Residents of Canada.

Enter on line 64 of your return whichever amount is more:

  • the taxable income reported on line 26000 of your return
  • your net world income after adjustments from line 16 of Schedule A

If you use the amount from line 16 (net world income after adjustments) of Schedule A to determine your federal tax, you need to calculate the section 217 tax adjustment amount using Part 2 of Schedule C. For more information, see Section 217 tax adjustment.

Note

If you are also reporting Canadian-source employment or business income on the return, you have to pay tax on that income to the province or territory where you earned it. To calculate your tax payable in this situation, complete Form T2203, Provincial and Territorial Taxes for Multiple Jurisdictions.

Federal non-refundable tax credits

These credits reduce your federal tax.

You can claim all of the federal non-refundable tax credits that apply to you on your return. However, under section 217 of the Income Tax Act, the amount of the credits you can use to reduce your tax may be limited.

Once you complete Part B of Step 5 of your return, complete Part B of Schedule B to calculate the allowable amount of federal non-refundable tax credits.

Schedule B – Allowable Amount of Non-Refundable Tax Credits

The amount depends on the portion of net world income (line 14 of Schedule A) that you included in net income (line 23600) on your section 217 return.

If you included in your net income 90% or more of your 2020 net world income, the allowable amount of federal non-refundable tax credits is the total from line 35000 of your return.

However, if you included in your net income less than 90% of your 2020 net world income, the allowable amount of federal non-refundable tax credits is whichever is less:

a) 15% of the eligible section 217 income paid or credited to you in 2020 (Section 217 income is identified in What types of income are eligible for a section 217 election? Schedule C also identifies this type of income and gives more detail.)

b) the total federal non-refundable tax credits you would be eligible for if you were resident of Canada for the full year, from line 35000 of your return, minus 15% of the total of the following amounts, if any:

Example 2

In example 1, Jeff's net world income was $19,000. To calculate the tax payable, Jeff will enter on line 64 of the return whichever is more:

  • Jeff's net income reported on line 23600 of the return                    $18,000
  • Jeff's net world income from line 14 of Schedule A                           $19,000

Jeff has included on the return 90% or more of the net world income. Jeff calculated the percentage on Schedule B as follows:

$18,000 (net income on the return) ÷ $19,000 (net world income on Schedule A) = 95%

As a result, Jeff can claim all of the federal non-refundable tax credits (from line 35000 of the return) that would have applied if Jeff was a resident of Canada throughout 2020.

Example 3

If Jeff also earned $12,000 in interest from United States treasury bonds which does not have to be reported on the Canadian return, Jeff would no longer be including 90% or more of the net world income on the return:

$18,000 (net income on the return) ÷ $31,000 (net world income on Schedule A) = 58%

In this example, since Jeff has not included 90% or more of the 2020 net world income on the section 217 return, Jeff's allowable federal non-refundable tax credits are limited to whichever is less:

a) $2,700 (15% of Jeff's income eligible for the section 217 election, which is the pension income of $18,000)

b) the total federal non-refundable tax credits entered on line 35000 of jeff's return minus 15% of the total of the following amounts, if any:

Section 217 tax adjustment

If the amount you enter on line 64 of your return is your net world income after adjustments (line 16 of Schedule A), you need to calculate the section 217 tax adjustment.

Your net world income after adjustments may include foreign-source income, which is not taxable in Canada, and Canadian-source income like interest, dividends, or rental income, which is not included in the taxable income on your return. The adjustment reduces your federal tax by the portion of taxes that apply to this income.

Note

You will find the calculation for the section 217 tax adjustment in Part 2 of Schedule C.

Tax payable

The amount on line 43500 of your return represents your tax payable if you make the election under section 217.

Refund or balance owing

Lines 46800 and 46900 – Eligible educator school supply tax credit

If you included in your net income 90% or more of your 2020 net world income (line 14 of Schedule A) and you were an eligible educator, you can claim an amount for eligible supplies you purchased in 2020

For more information, see lines 46800 and 46900 in the Income Tax and Benefit Guide for Non-Residents and Deemed Residents of Canada.

What if the election is beneficial?

It is beneficial for you to file a section 217 return if the amount on line 43500 of your return is less than the tax you would otherwise pay (see Is a section 217 election beneficial? to determine the tax you would otherwise pay).

If this is the case and you file your section 217 return on time, the CRA will refund any tax withheld that is more than the amount you owe. If the payer withheld less than the required amount of non-resident tax on your eligible section 217 income, you may have a balance owing, even if the election is beneficial. Make sure you include on line 43700 of your return the non-resident tax withheld on your eligible section 217 income from your information slips.

Note

Attach a completed Schedule A, Schedule B, and Schedule C to your return. If you do not attach these schedules, the processing of your return, and any refund you may be entitled to, may be delayed. Also attach a copy of your information slips.

What if the election is not beneficial?

It is not beneficial for you to file a section 217 return if the amount of the tax on line 43500 of your return is equal to or more than the tax you would otherwise pay (see Is a section 217 election beneficial? to determine the tax you would otherwise pay).

If it is not beneficial to file a section 217 return and the payer withheld more than the required amount of non-resident tax on your eligible section 217 income, you can ask for a refund of the difference. To do so, use Form NR7-R, Application for Refund of Part XIII Tax Withheld.

If the payer withheld less than the required amount of non-resident tax because the CRA approved your Form NR5 or for any other reason, you have to pay an amount to the CRA. The amount to pay is the difference between the required amount of non-resident tax and the amount withheld. For more information, contact the CRA.

For more information

What if you need help?

If you need more information after reading this pamphlet, go to Taxes or contact the CRA.

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By mail

If you are a non-resident of Canada, send us your 217 election and any related documents as follows:

By mail - non-residents
If your country of residence is: Tax Centre:
Denmark
France
Netherlands
United Kingdom                                                          
United States
Winnipeg Tax Centre
PO Box 14001, Station Main
Winnipeg MB  R3C 3M3

any other country Sudbury Tax Centre
1050 Notre Dame Avenue
Sudbury ON  P3A 5C2

If you immigrated to Canada in 2020, send us your 217 election and any related documents as follows:

By mail - Provinces or area in Ontario
If you live in one of the following provinces or territories, or areas of Ontario: Send your correspondence to:
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories,
Nunavut, Yukon

Ontario: Belleville, Hamilton, Kingston,
Kitchener, London, Ottawa,
Peterborough, St. Catharines,
Thunder Bay, Waterloo, Windsor
Winnipeg Tax Centre
PO Box 14001, Station Main
Winnipeg MB  R3C 3M3

New Brunswick, Newfoundland and
Labrador, Nova Scotia,
Prince Edward Island, Québec

Ontario: Barrie, Sudbury, Toronto
Sudbury Tax Centre
1050 Notre Dame Avenue
Sudbury ON  P3A 5C2

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