Certificate of residency

What is a certificate of residency?

Residents of Canada are subject to tax in Canada on their world income (income from Canadian and foreign sources). Income from sources outside of Canada can also be taxed in the country where it was earned. You may be able to reduce or eliminate the amount of tax you have to pay on income from other countries if Canada has a tax treaty with them.

Some countries want a certificate of residency to prove that a taxpayer is a resident of Canada and entitled to tax treaty benefits on income earned in their country. These countries will ask that the taxpayer provide the certificate to their tax administration or the payer of the income. The certificate of residency helps the foreign tax administration and/or payer to administer exemptions or tax reductions to the foreign tax you pay, based on the terms of the tax treaty.

A certificate of residency issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) confirms the taxpayer is resident in Canada and is liable to tax in Canada. The test is applied to a person (whether it be an individual, corporation or trust) in their own right without reference to the tax liability of others. The CRA does not issue certificates of residency to fiscally transparent entities or other persons not resident in Canada under Canada's domestic tax laws and its tax treaties.

Certain residents of Canada are exempt from tax based on a specific provision of the Income Tax Act or other Canadian law. To apply special provisions in their tax treaties and/or domestic laws, a foreign country may want proof that a particular resident of Canada (such as a registered pension plan) has a special exemption from tax in Canada. If requested, the CRA may issue a certificate to certain persons which certifies their tax exempt status (with or without also certifying Canadian tax residency).

Note

Make sure your tax returns have been filed and are up to date before you request a certificate of residency.

You can ask for a certificate of residency for the current year or for earlier years or future years. See When to submit a request for restrictions concerning requests for future years.

Who can get a certificate of residency?

An individual, a corporation, a trust, a non-profit organization, a charity, a Canadian governmental body or other person can get a certificate of residency, as long as they are resident in Canada for income tax purposes.

Note

A person that would otherwise be considered resident in Canada can be deemed to be resident in another country (and deemed non-resident of Canada) by the application of "tie-breaker" rules in a tax treaty with that other country. These rules will sometimes apply under an agreement between the competent authorities of both countries. A person deemed non-resident of Canada, including under a competent authority agreement, should not request a certificate of residency from the CRA.

Partnerships cannot be issued a certificate of residency because they, in and of themselves, are not liable to tax; however, each partner of a partnership can request a certificate. Where all partners to a partnership are residents of Canada, a representative authorized to act on their behalf can request the CRA certify the residency of all partners, and certify that the partnership is a "Canadian partnership" under subsection 102(1) of the Income Tax Act at a particular time.

The CRA's willingness to issue a certificate of residency which also certifies an entity's tax exempt status is generally limited to registered charities, registered pension plans, Canadian federal, provincial or municipal governments, and certain others whose tax-exempt status is readily determinable.

Note

Only an authorized person may request a certificate of residency.

Notarizing and authenticating documents

Some countries require taxpayers applying for tax treaty benefits to provide a notarized document to show that they are a resident of Canada. The taxpayer is responsible to get the services of a notary.

Some countries want the certificates of residency the CRA issues to be authenticated or have apostille certification. The CRA cannot authenticate documents or provide apostille certifications. The information that follows is for taxpayers who need those procedures:

How to get a certificate of residency

Mail or fax your written request, or the form given to you by the foreign government for this purpose, to your Taxpayer services regional correspondence centre to get a certificate of residency.

You may be able to ask for the certificate over the phone in some cases:

If the foreign government has given you a form and wants it to be certified and returned to them, you need to send us the form by mail.

A standard certificate of residency issued by the CRA states the taxpayer is a resident of Canada for tax purposes. Not all jurisdictions accept the certificates of residency forms issued by the CRA. Taxpayers should confirm what format is needed with the foreign tax administrations before making the request to the CRA. They should indicate if certification on a foreign government form (or in a format specified by a foreign tax administration) is desired in their request. Such requests must be made in writing to the Taxpayer services regional correspondence centre. The CRA will only certify a foreign form if it is in a position to do so. For example, the CRA will not certify that a person is the beneficial owner of a particular payment, and will not certify a form without an English or French language version, or a form that gives rise to uncertainties. Taxpayers must state the name of the other country or foreign tax administration and the taxation year the certification is for in their request.

Note

Allow at least ten weeks for your request to be processed. The time required to process your request may increase during peak periods.

When to submit a request

A request for a certificate of residency can be made at any time. However, requests for future years should not be submitted before October 15 of the current year. A future year request can only be processed on or after the beginning of the tax year for which the request is made. 

What to include in your request

Representatives

The CRA needs a taxpayer's authorization to deal with a representative for that taxpayer, including for the purposes of issuing a certificate of residency and/or tax exempt status for that taxpayer.

Go to Representative authorization if you want to authorize a representative to deal with the CRA for you.

A legal document, usually a Power of Attorney (POA), can also authorize a representative to deal with the CRA on a taxpayer's behalf. To request a certificate of residency and/or tax exempt status on behalf of the taxpayer, the representative should include the document with the request. A POA must meet the following basic criteria:

Foreign forms

A request for a certification on a foreign form must be made in writing. Attach the form to your request and, unless evident from the form, provide the name of the foreign tax administration that requires its use.

Individuals:

Trusts:

If a trust (such as a trust governed by a registered pension plan) is exempt from income tax and wants its tax-exempt status noted on a certificate of residency then it must:

Corporations and other organizations:

If a corporation or organization is exempt from income tax and wants its tax-exempt status noted on a certificate of residency then it must:

Partnerships:

The CRA does not issue certificates of residency for partnerships. If the CRA is to issue one certificate of residency for all partners in a partnership, the representative must provide the following: 

Letter of Consent

A copy of the letter of consent must be attached to the certificate of residency request if authorization was not previously submitted to the CRA. The letter of consent must contain the following:

The consent will be valid until revoked by the partner. The CRA must receive the request within six months from the date it is signed. For businesses and trusts the letter may only be signed by an authorized person of the business or trust. This includes an owner, partner of a partnership, a director of a corporation, an officer of a non-profit organization, or a trustee.

Taxpayer services regional correspondence centres

If you reside in:

Send your request to:

Nova Scotia TSO
Post Office Box 638, Station Central
Halifax NS  B3J 2T5
Fax: 902-450-8558

If you reside in:

Send your request to:

Jonquière TC
2251 René-Lévesque Boulevard
Jonquière QC  G7S 5J1
Fax: 418-699-0203

If you reside in:

Send your request to:

London-Windsor TSO
451 Talbot Street
London ON  N6A 5E5
Fax: 519-645-5026

If you reside in:

Send your request to:

Saskatchewan TSO
340 3rd Avenue North
Saskatoon SK  S7K 0A8
Fax: 306-652-3211

If you reside in:

Send your request to:

Fraser Valley TSO
9755 King George Boulevard
Post Office Box 9070, Station Main
Surrey BC  V3T 5E1
Fax: 604-586-6442

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