Personal Finance

Changes to 401k Contributions and Canadian Tax Returns

Favourite reader “Telly” left a comment on her “Living and Working in Different Countries” post regarding a recent change to the taxation laws which affect cross border workers:

BTW, some very useful info for any Canadians working in the US (resident or not).

On Friday, the Canada-US Income Tax Treaty was revised and will apparently enter into force on Jan. 1, 2008. Basically, employee contributions to a US pension plan (401k) will be deductible on Canadian tax returns.


Here’s the description and link if anyone is interested:

Pensions & other registered plans – mutual recognition

Who it affects: Cross-border commuters – individuals residing in one country and working in the other – who contribute to a pension plan (or any of certain other employment-related retirement arrangements) in the country where they work. Also individuals who move from one country to the other on short-term (up to five years) work assignments, and continue to contribute to a plan or arrangement in the first country. In certain cases, such persons’ employers may also benefit.

Current rule: No rule in respect of contributions, meaning no assurance that they may be deducted for tax purposes in the country of employment.

New rule: Provided certain conditions are met, cross-border commuters may deduct, for residence country tax purposes, the contributions they make to a plan or arrangement in the country where they work. Similarly, those who move for work and meet certain conditions can deduct, for source country tax purposes, their contributions to a plan or arrangement in the other country, for up to five years. In both cases, accruing benefits are not taxable.

Examples: (1) A resident of Canada is employed in the U.S., and contributes to an employer-sponsored pension plan there. The employee’s contributions to the plan (up to the employee’s remaining RRSP deduction room) will be deductible for Canadian tax purposes. (2) An employee of a Canadian company is assigned for three years to a related U.S. company. The employee keeps contributing to the employee pension plan of the Canadian company. For U.S. tax purposes, both the employee and the U.S. company will be able to deduct the contributions.

Significance: Facilitates movement of personnel between the two countries by removing a possible disincentive for commuters and temporary work assignments.

Application: Applies for taxation years that begin after calendar year in which the Protocol enters into force. However, if ratification is completed in 2007 the rule applies for taxation years that begin in 2008 (i.e. the same calendar year that the Protocol enters into force).

3 replies on “Changes to 401k Contributions and Canadian Tax Returns”

I’d also like to know if this passed? i don’t see it on the Parliament of Canada website under the 40th Parliament 1st session.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *