Regulation 102 of the Income Tax Act applies to withholding taxes for employees who provide services in Canada. The requirement to withhold taxes is not limited to Canadian employers only. Instead, the withholding tax rules apply to any employer who has an employee who provides services in Canada. The withholding tax requirements are the same as for any Canadian employee who works in Canada.
There are no minimum payment exceptions for the withholding taxes. As well, there could be Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance withholding requirements. The CRA is willing to issue a waiver to reduce or eliminate withholding taxes under certain circumstances. Having said that, a waiver will only reduce or eliminate withholding taxes after the waiver has been issued. There is no specific form for a waiver. Instead, it is a written request. If the employee has already started earning income in Canada, and a waiver is received at a later point in time, then the withholding tax requirement still applies to that period before the waiver was received.
Even if a waiver has been granted, employers are still required to prepare and file a T4 employment income summary for all amounts paid to non-resident employees.
Penalty and interest provisions can still apply to the payor for the taxes that should have been withheld even though there may be no ultimate liability for taxes due to a treaty.
Non-resident employers are well advised to plan ahead so as to minimize their exposure on withholding taxes.
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