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Tax on RRSP and RRIF Withdrawals
Canadian Tax and
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What Tax is Deducted From RRIF or RRSP Withdrawals?

Income Tax Regulations s. 103(4)

Although Regulation s. 103(4) refers to payments by an employer to an employee, as noted by David Sherman in his Practitioners' Income Tax Act, "almost any payor and payee are “employer” and “employee” as defined in Reg. 100(1) (see Reg. 100(1) “remuneration”)".  The parts of 103(4) that define the withholding rate are 103(4)(a)(iii), (b)(iii), and (c)(iii), except for Quebec which uses (i) instead of (iii).

Net RRSP Withdrawal Will Be After Tax

RRSP withdrawal amounts, including any tax paid on the withdrawal, are included in taxable income on Line 12900 of the tax return (RRSP income).

The withholding tax must be deducted from the "payment", so this means that the amount net of tax must be transferred out of the account.  The tax cannot be paid after the transfer of the withdrawal, it must be deducted as part of the withdrawal transaction.  This means that if an in kind withdrawal of securities is done, there must be sufficient cash in the registered account to pay the withholding tax.

Example: In kind withdrawal of securities, with a taxable withdrawal amount of $20,000:

bulletwithholding (w/h) tax is 30% of $20,000, or $6,000
bulletcash of $6,000 must be available in the RRSP to pay the $6,000
bulletnet amount of withdrawal is $20,000 - $6,000 = $14,000
bulletthis means only $14,000 of securities can be withdrawn
bullettaxable withdrawal reported on line 12900 of the tax return is $20,000
bullet$6,000 w/h tax is reported on line 43700 of the tax return

Goal is to have $20,000 of securities withdrawn:

bulletw/h tax will be 30% of the total withdrawal amount
bulletsecurities withdrawn ($20,000) will be 70% of the total withdrawal amount
bullettotal withdrawal amount including tax = $20,000 / 70% = $28,571
bulletw/h tax = 30% x $28,571 = $8,571
bulletsecurities withdrawn = $28,571 - $8,571 = $20,000
bullettaxable withdrawal reported on line 12900 of the tax return is $28,571
bullet$8,571 w/h tax is reported on line 43700 of the tax return

Tax Withheld is Like a Tax Instalment

The withholding tax amounts deducted from your withdrawals are only estimates of what you will owe in taxes.  The amounts withheld will show on your tax return on line 43700 as taxes already remitted, just like an income tax instalment.  The total withdrawal amount including w/h tax will be included in your taxable income.  Your total taxable income will determine the total taxes payable.  This may result in more or less taxes being payable.

RRSP/RRIF Withdrawals Withholding Tax Rate

The following are the withholding tax rates for RRSP withdrawals or for withdrawals from a RRIF in excess of the minimum amount:

Withdrawal Amount % Federal Tax Withheld
Prov/Terr Except QC Quebec (1)
From $0 to $5,000 10% 5%
From $5,001 to $15,000 20% 10%
Greater than $15,000 30% 15%


(1) For a single withdrawal from RRSP funds held in the province of Quebec, there will be 15% provincial income tax withheld, in addition to the above 5%, 10% or 15% federal tax withheld.  See Revenue Quebec's Payments from an RRSP. a VRSP, a PRPP or a RRIF.


Note that for non-residents of Canada, the withholding tax rate is 25%, but can be reduced by a tax treaty.

Multiple Lump-Sum Withdrawals From RRSP or RRIF

When an individual makes a single request for more than one withdrawal, in the form of instalments, it is Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) position that the withholding tax rate should be based on the total of these withdrawals.  When a RRIF annuitant receives monthly instalment payments and makes a series of requests for additional withdrawals in a short period of time, it is the CRA position that the withholding tax rate should be based on the total of additional withdrawals.  They also indicate that payers should use their discretion in determining the rate.  For further information on this topic, see the CRA document Withholding tax on payments from a RRIF (link at bottom).  See also Question 14 from the 2003 RRSP/RRIF Consultation Session, Withholdings on Multiple Withdrawals.  From that question:

It is the CRA's longstanding position that, when qualifying lump-sum payments are split into multiple payments (installments), and that each payment is made in fulfillment of a single compensation that is known in advance, the withholding rate applicable to the total payment is used.

If each payment is a separate payment, the lower rate of withholding applies to each.

For example, if at the beginning of the year you receive a request to pay a client $1,500 per month out of the client's RRSP for an annual amount of $18,000, you would apply the withholding rate of 30% to each installment payment. Because the total amount of the withdrawal for the year was known in advance, the withholding rate applicable to the total amount withdrawn is to be applied.

If, later in the year, the client requests an additional withdrawal that is over and above the installment payments, you should use the rate that applies to that payment only.

There was also a 2008 consultation, and Q24 addressed the same topic, saying:

Question 24 Does the CRA have any plans to change the lump-sum withholding tax rates that apply to multiple withdrawals made over a short period of time, such as adding a threshold after which all withdrawals in the same year would be subject to the higher withholding rate?

Answer 24 No. We have no plans to change the calculation of how tax should be withheld in respect of multiple withdrawals from an RRSP or a RRIF over a short period of time. The information about tax withholding at the end of the answer to question 7, Withholding tax on payments from a RRIF (link at bottom) continues to apply.

RRIF Withdrawals Withholding Tax

No tax is withheld when the minimum amount is withdrawn from a RRIF.  When withdrawals in excess of the minimum amount are made, the above RRSP lump sum withholding tax rates apply, but only on the excess over the minimum amount.  For further information on this topic, see the CRA document Withholding tax on payments from a RRIF (link at bottom).  For Quebec, the amount withheld from a single payment from a RRIF will be 16% of the amount exceeding the minimum amount.

The withdrawal from the RRIF is included in the taxpayer's taxable income, so depending on the individual's circumstances, tax may be payable when the tax return is filed.

In 2020, tax was only withheld from withdrawals that were in excess of the original unreduced minimum amount.

The minimum withdrawal amount was waived in 2007 for RRIF owners who turned 70 or 71 in 2007, and in 2008 for RRIF owners who turned 71 in 2008.  However, withdrawals up to the normal minimum withdrawal amount were still not subject to withholding tax.

Fees on RRSP or RRIF Withdrawals

There may be fees charged by your brokerage or financial institution when a withdrawal is made from an RRSP or RRIF.  These fees are not tax deductible.  This applies if they are paid by the RRSP or RRIF or from a non-registered account. Resources

Withholding Tax on Foreign Dividends

How are RRSPs and RRIFs Tax at Death?

CRA warnings regarding schemes which promise tax-free RRSP or RRIF withdrawals.

Get your money out of RRSPs tax-free (sort of) - to see how you can shelter your RRSP withdrawals to save tax

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Resources

Tax Rates on Withdrawals

Tax Treaties

Withholding tax on payments from a RRIF 

Tax Tip:  Get INDEPENDENT advice from a tax professional before investing in tax-saving "schemes"  that promise to get your money out of your RRSP without paying tax.

Revised: May 17, 2023


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