Religious sects and the Canada Pension Plan

Introduction

Members of certified religious sects can ask not to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) on their self-employed earnings.

This article provides information on how to make this request.

How a religious sect can ask to be certified

Before a member of a religious sect or a division of it can ask not to contribute to the CPP, the sect or division must apply for certification. The authorized spokesperson of the religious sect must complete the prescribed form CPT17, Application to Certify a Religious Sect or a Division of it so Members can Apply to Exempt their Self-Employed Earnings from the Canada Pension Plan.

A religious sect, or a division of a religious sect, can be certified if it meets the following conditions:

How a member of a certified religious sect can ask not to contribute to the CPP on their self-employed earnings

A member of a religious sect can ask not to contribute to the CPP on their self-employed earnings, by completing form CPT16, Application to Exempt Self-Employed Earnings from the Canada Pension Plan for Religious Reasons.  A member of a religious sect can make this choice only once in their lifetime.

If approved by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the choice will come into effect on January 1 of the year in which the request is sent to the CRA. For example, if the application is sent on September 3, 2020, the member will not have to contribute to the CPP on their self-employed earnings for the year 2020.

The CRA will approve the request if the following conditions are met:

  1. The person making the choice
    • (i) is a member of a religious sect or a division of a religious sect that has been certified by the CRA,
    • (ii) has been certified as such a member by a spokesperson for that sect or division; and
  2. The spokesperson
    • (i) is authorized by the sect or division to certify persons as being members of the sect or division, and
    • (ii) has certified that the sect or division maintains the tenets, teachings and practices outlined in the application for certification (CPT17).

How to revoke this choice

An individual can revoke their choice at any time by submitting a request in writing to their tax services office. The choice will cease on January 1 of the calendar year following the day the CRA is notified in writing. For example, if the request is received on May 30, 2020, the member will have to contribute to the CPP on their self-employed earnings starting in 2021.

Once an individual revokes their choice, they may not ask to not contribute to the CPP on their self-employed earnings for any following year.

For more information

To get more information, call 1-800-959-5525.

Legislative references

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