HRS insights: CRA provides some relief to non resident employees attending conferences in Canada

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has issued administrative relief specifically for non resident employees attending conferences in Canada. The relief, announced on December 21, 2012, recognizes the administrative burden on non-resident employers in meeting payroll reporting and withholding obligations for non-resident employees who provide services in Canada.

The general rule: When an employee attends a conference in Canada, either as an instructor or as an attendee, the employer is required to withhold and remit tax, unless the employee has applied for and received an approved waiver from withholdings from the CRA.

The CRA’s relief: Administrative relief is provided for an employee who:

  • is in Canada to attend a conference for 10 days or less; and
  • in the year, earns from employment services in Canada less than:
    • $10,000, if he or she is resident in the United States; or
    • $5,000, if he or she is resident in another country with which Canada has a tax treaty.

This employee will not be required to obtain a waiver of withholding. The CRA will not assess the employer penalties and interest for the under withholding, nor will the employer be required to file a form T4 for the employment income associated with the employee’s attendance at the conference.