XML technical specifications

Data records filed must match our exact specifications. This allows us to process the data efficiently and avoids having to ask you for clarification.

These specifications are subject to change.

If you need to use any of the following special characters, please use a semi-colon after the characters as shown in the chart below:

Special characters Use
< &lt;
" &quot;
> &gt;
' &apos;
& &amp;

Note: Although the above special characters are entered as 4 characters or more, they are considered to be only 1 character when entered in the content area of an XML tag.

Example: John Smith & Sons will be entered as John Smith &amp; Sons

  • You do not need to include any optional tags that are empty (i.e. which do not contain any information).

    Example: <annuitantSalutation/> is an optional empty tag.
    If you have no salutation to report in this tag, you do not need to include the tag in your submission.

  • To properly capture international characters (for example, the French character é) in XML files, you must save your file using one of the following character sets:


The first line of your file should describe the character encoding that you used to create your file.

Example: If you used ISO-8859-1, then you would start with
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>

Programming requirements

  • You must test your submission against the published schema before you send it to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • The CRA will reject submissions with file format errors and all of the listings within those submissions will be considered not filed.
  • Use only the space you need. For example:

    Annuitant's first name (required)
    The maximum field length is 40 characters


    Do not put any extra spaces.

Things to remember

The procedures below are general guidelines to remember when filing your listings. When you submit your files using the XML standard, remember these points:

  • The issuer or carrier has to submit the registration of retirement savings plan (RSP) or retirement income fund (RIF) contracts or arrangements no later than 60 days after the end of the calendar year in which the contracts or arrangements were issued.
  • The prescribed technical specifications will not be waived.
  • The RSP specimen plan number is made up of the acronym RSP, followed by a space and a 7 digit number (for example, RSP 0123-456). A hyphen must be included between the fourth and fifth number. Note that if a specimen plan number was approved as RSP 123-456, the specimen plan number that must be reported in your filing is RSP 0123-456. Any number with added addenda identifications, such as L1, should not be included in the specimen plan number.
  • The RIF specimen fund number is made up of the acronym RIF, followed by a space and a 4 digit number (for example, RIF 9876). If a specimen fund number was approved as RIF 123, the specimen fund number that must be reported in your filing is RIF 0123. Any number with added addenda identifications, such as L1, should not be included in the specimen fund number.
  • The contract field must be unique for each annuitant under a specimen plan or fund. Once an account is closed, the contract number may not be reused in the future.
  • The addresses provided in the listings must be those of the annuitants.
  • For Canadian addresses, the fields for the city, province and postal code must be valid and comply with Canada Post's parameters. Under the Canada Post addressing guidelines, note the following:
    1. Regarding the name for the municipality (provided to Canada Post), the official municipality name, the official abbreviation of the municipality name or an official alternate name should be used in the city field and should not be translated. (For example: St. John's cannot be translated, Trois-Rivières is not Three Rivers, Saint-Hyacinthe is not St Hyacinthe and Dollard-Des-Ormeaux is not DDO)
    2. The province must always be presented using the official two-letter symbol in the province field.
    3. The postal code must be the one for the city and province in the postal code field.

Please visit the Canada Post's website for more information on addressing guidelines.

Before submitting your listing to the Registered Plans Directorate, please make sure that it follows the XML standard and the guidelines listed on our website.

The CRA is responsible for protecting information after it has been received, and has appropriate security measures to make sure that information is protected within the CRA

Your submission must meet the CRA guidelines and specifications as stated in these pages. If your submission does not meet these requirements, it will not be reviewed. You will then have to resubmit your registration listings in the proper format.

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