Canadian Taxation Back to Basics: What is a T3 return?

Often times with all the complexities that come with International taxation we sometimes lose sight of the basic questions that come our way in the taxation industry.

For example, what is a T3?T3

A T3 slip is a Canadian tax form that reports income from trusts for a tax year.

An individual taxpayer will include the amounts reported on the T3 on his personal tax return.

A corporation will include it as part of its investment income.

A trust (or trustee / intermediary / transfer agent, etc.) is required to provide the T3 slip to investors by the last day of February in the following year.

So what again is a T3 slip?

A T3 slip details the various types of income distributed from the trust for a taxation year.

Why would an individual get a T3 slip?

The most common reason is for distributions or dividend reinvestments in mutual funds or segregated funds.  However, if these funds are held in tax-deferred retirement (RRSP) or education accounts (RESP), no T3 will be generated.  The reason no slips is issued in those cases is because the income in those types of funds is reportable for tax purposes once they are withdrawn from the fund.

The trust is responsible for filing copies of all T3 slips along with a T3 Return to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by the end of February in the following year.

What kinds of income can trusts distribute?

Trusts can distribute interest, royalties, business income, pension income and most commonly dividends and capital gains.

Each is recorded on a separate line on the T3 slip.  Each type of income is treated differently for tax purposes and appears in a separate location on the taxpayer’s personal income tax return.  Capital gains may be offset by other capital losses in the year or from prior years.

Filing a T3

A T3 is filed as part of a taxpayer’s T1 personal tax return.

When is a T3 required?

Regardless of the fiscal year-end of the trust, the T3 is generated and reported in the year the income is received.

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