Payroll tips: A checklist for meeting the T4 deadline

December 9, 2019


March 2, 2020 is the deadline to file T4s because the last day of February falls on a weekend next year. The penalties for filing late can be crippling. Scrambling to get T4s done at the last minute is a difficult experience (just ask anyone who’s had to do it).

The key to getting your T4s prepared and delivered on time, and without stress is to have all the information you need lined up beforehand.

Here’s a checklist you can print and post at your desk.

Employee’s full name

Make sure you have their legal name on file. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) doesn’t accept nicknames. If an employee has legally changed their name in the last year, you should have that on file.


If an employee has moved within the past year, you should know about it. It will be worth sending a company-wide email out to confirm.

Province of employment

This is where the employee works, not where they live or where your head office is. If you’re based in Ontario, for example, and your employee lives in B.C. near the Alberta border but works in your Alberta office, you would use Alberta. If an employee was transferred to another province mid-year, you have to prepare two T4s for them because the tax deductions differ by province.

Social insurance number

You should already have this from employees when you originally hired them.

Date of birth

Again, this is something you should already have. But you may want to send a company-wide email to confirm.

Your business number

This is the nine-digit number assigned to you by CRA that they use to identify you. Your business number will appear on any document you receive from the federal, provincial, or municipal government. We recommend writing it down and putting it somewhere that’s easily accessible.

Reported income

This should cover every cent you gave your employee, invested on their behalf, or used to buy goods or services for them. It includes but is not limited to:

  • Salary or wages (including pay in lieu of termination notice)
  • Tips, gratuities, and bonuses
  • Vacation pay
  • Employment commissions
  • Money spent on taxable benefits or allowances
  • Retiring allowances

Depending on the size of your organization and the level of transparency, you should connect with managers and directors to make sure you capture all the required information.

Total income tax deducted

Remember to include taxable benefits in your calculations.

Total CPP/QPP and EI deducted

You are required to make deductions for the Canada Pension Plan (or Quebec Pension Plan in Quebec) and employment insurance.

How BDO can help

Filling out T4s can be both challenging and time consuming. If you’d rather let someone else handle this work, contact BDO’s Corporate Payroll Services team to find out how we can help your business.

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