Bonus vs Commission Tax Canada


You must subtract all of the following sums from any bonuses you paid to your staff:

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions (without taking into consideration the annual basic exemption amount if the payment is made separately from their regular pay)
  • Employment insurance (EI) premiums
  • income tax

How to calculate your bonuses

Bonus pay is not always available, although it is a well-established employee incentive.

The employment contract must provide advanced criteria for bonus eligibility. For instance, reaching a particular goal may result in your employee receiving a $1000 bonus at the end of the year or during the hectic holiday season. 

The typical employee source deductions for income tax, the Canada Pension Plan, and employment insurance must likely be applied to the employee's bonus, just like you would to a regular salary. These sums will be determined for you by your payroll software and added to your usual payment to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Bonuses have to be connected to clear, quantifiable performance goals and professional accomplishments. In order to avoid misunderstandings, keep bonuses separate from regular salary and cost-of-living adjustments.

To encourage and reward your staff, you may provide a variety of bonuses:

  • An amount is added to the employee's paycheck as a cash bonus.
  • After the year, bonuses are often offered.
  • A tangible reward might be a non-cash incentive (like a new iPhone).
  • A second free day or longer is considered time off with pay.
  • When processing your payroll, consider these bonuses in all their forms as taxable income.

What is a commission? 

The commission is the amount of money earned by the salesperson depending on the items they have sold. In Canada, the commission the employee received is typically eligible for tax breaks that salaried employees are not, including tax deductions. The cause of this is that commission workers frequently have to cover extra costs that do not apply to salaried workers.

How to Calculate Your Commission

Some businesses provide commission-based pay in an effort to increase team engagement, staff productivity, and sales. While allowing employees to make more money, commissions may enable your company to pay lower wages to workers.

There are several ways to get a commission:

  • In retail businesses, where employees are paid a basic salary and a percentage of sales, salary plus commission is the norm.
  • Real estate agents who just receive commission do not receive a basic salary, and there is no earning ceiling for them.
  • An advance payment on upcoming sales is made by a draw against commission.
  • Insurance agents will receive residual revenue for each year a customer renews their coverage. The residual commission is the amount the employee makes after the consumer makes the first purchase.
  • The employment contract needs to specify how commissions will be paid in detail.
  • Employers must withhold income tax, CPP, and EI from commissions in the same manner as they would from wages and salaries.


In short, the bonuses must be linked to specific, measurable performance goals and professional success. Keep incentives separate from regular pay and cost-of-living adjustments to prevent misunderstandings. The employee's bonus will likely be reduced by customary employee-source deductions for income tax, the Canada Pension Plan, and employment insurance. Moreover, some companies provide commission-based compensation in an effort to boost team engagement, output, and sales. In Canada, the commission that the employee got is often eligible for tax benefits, such as tax deductions, that are not available to salaried workers. The employment agreement must clearly outline the commission payment schedule.

Written By:
Salman Rundhawa
Salman Rundhawa is the founder of Filing Taxes. Salman provides valuable tax planning, accounting, and income tax preparation services in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, and Hamilton.

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