by Robert Baird, President Baird Artists Management (BAM!)
Ignoring the taxation requirements of a foreign country can lead to unforeseen complications, as this letter illustrates:
We sent an American ensemble to Canada in 2013. We had obtained an approved R-105 waiver in advance. Consequently, no taxes were withheld. We did not realize that we needed to file a Canadian tax return. When we applied for a waiver last summer, we were surprised to have it rejected. The presenter withheld 15% and we’d like to get it back. What do we do now?
R-105 Waivers are used in Canada to reduce or eliminate the 15% required withholding on services provided in Canada by a nonresident. Even with an approved R105 waiver in Canada, you are still required to file a Canadian income tax return the following year; otherwise, subsequent waiver applications will be denied until your tax filings are up-to-date. This is made clear in the approval letter from Revenue Canada. R105 waivers do not represent the final Canadian tax obligation of a foreign artist: the ultimate tax liability can only be determined after an assessment of a Canadian tax return.
There are two types of R105 waiver applications:
1) Treaty-based waivers—Treaty-based waivers are granted if there is a treaty between Canada and another country. Currently, there are more than 80 tax treaties in force. (Visit http://www.fin.gc.ca/treaties-conventions/in_force-eng.asp for a list.) Generally, where there is a treaty, if an artist earns less than $5,000 a year in Canada, with certain restrictions on time spent in Canada, a waiver will be granted. For American artists the amount is less than $15,000 per year.
2) Income/expense waiver—If you do not qualify for a treaty-based waiver, you can still apply for an income/expense waiver. You submit a summary of your gross Canadian income and claim applicable expenses against that amount. The net income is then assessed for tax liability. A waiver may be granted or the required withholding may be less than the required 15%. Applicable expenses include: professional service fees (managers, agents, etc.); accommodations and/or meals; travel to Canada and between places in Canada; mileage for personally owned or rented vehicles used in Canada; equipment rental other than vehicles; and remuneration paid to other persons providing services in Canada (for example, resident or nonresident employees, or subcontractors).
[Note: Fees paid to nonresidents require the 15% withholding unless you acquire an approved R105 or R102 waiver for them as well].
Whether you received an approved waiver or had monies withheld, you should always file a Canadian tax return. It’s a requirement for future waiver approvals and you may receive a refund of monies withheld. Individuals should file a T1 return by April 30 and corporations a T2 return by June 30 of the following calendar year. In addition, if you used subcontractors or employees, you will need to issue T4A-NR slips to each individual, remit withheld monies to the receiver general of Canada by the 15th of the month, following the month in which the payment was made to the nonresident and file a T4A-NR information return (T4A-NR slips and summary form) by the last day of February in the year following the year in which the amounts were paid. Note that there are significant penalties for failing to file tax returns and required forms as indicated.
Nonresident artists need to be aware of waivers and tax filing requirements when coming to Canada to perform.
—I welcome your questions and concerns.
Please write to me at: email@example.com. While I cannot answer every question I receive in this column, I will feature as many as I can and I promise to answer every e-mail I receive.
To read this article in French visit: www.internationalmusician.org/la-fiscalite-canadienne-et-les-dispenses.