Retiring allowances

Since 2011 (for the 2010 tax year) retiring allowances are reported on the T4 slip instead of the T4A slip.

A retiring allowance (also called severance pay) is an amount paid to officers or employees when or after they retire from an office or employment, in recognition of long service or for the loss of office or employment.

A retiring allowance includes:

  • payments for unused sick leave credits on termination; and
  • amounts individuals receive when their office or employment is terminated, even if the amount is for damages (wrongful dismissal when the employee does not return to work).

A retiring allowance does not include:

  • salary, wages, bonuses, overtime, and legal fees;
  • a superannuation or pension benefit;
  • an amount an individual receives as a result of an employee's death (these payments may be treated as death benefits);
  • a benefit derived from certain counselling services;
  • payments for accumulated vacation leave not taken before retirement;
  • wages in lieu of termination notice; and
  • damages for violations or alleged violations of an employee's applicable human rights awarded under human rights legislation, to the extent these damages are not taxable.

If you pay a retiring allowance to a resident of Canada, deduct income tax from any part you pay directly to the recipient using the lump-sum withholding rates.


Retiring allowances must be taxed even if a recipient's total earnings received or receivable during the calendar year, including the lump-sum payment, are less than the total claim amount on his or her Form TD1, Personal Tax Credits Return.

Do not deduct CPP contributions or EI premiums from retiring allowances.

If you pay a retiring allowance to a non-resident of Canada, withhold 25% of the retiring allowance (subject to various tax conventions and agreements). Send this amount to the receiver general on the non-resident's behalf. For more information, see Guide T4061, NR4 - Non-Resident Tax Withholding, Remitting, and Reporting.

Transfer all or part of a retiring allowance

There are situations when a person can transfer all or part of a retiring allowance to a registered pension plan (RPP) or a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). For more information, go to Transfer of a retiring allowance.

Forms and publications

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