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It is shocking for many people when they get to know that the bonus also gets taxed. A typical response is “Bonuses get taxed too??”. The companies give bonuses to make sure the best work is appreciated and the employee is motivated. Similar to benefit packages, bonus money may be a useful tool for retaining and recruiting the finest employees. A bonus pay system that is competitive can boost output and maintain employee interest. 

Your employer normally withholds federal taxes from your bonus at a rate that is greater than the one you pay when you submit your taxes. But don’t panic, you could recover some of the money withheld from your bonus and returned as part of your federal tax refund because your real tax rate based on your overall taxable income for the year may be lower. Any bonuses you offer your employees must be paid; you must make sure of that. You could be pushed before an employment tribunal if you refuse. You must pay the right amount of tax on a bonus or risk incurring financial penalties.

What is a bonus? 

In literal terms, a bonus is known as a reward or gift. In business terms, the bonus is described as a sort of pay or extra reward given to a worker at the company’s discretion. Bonuses are often one-time payments made on top of a worker’s regular income or compensation. The majority of the time, bonuses are given out on unique occasions (like holidays) or included in specific compensation schemes (e.g., for hitting a quarterly sales goal). Other forms include retention, sign-on, yearly, merit, and referral incentives.

Is a bonus included in your pay?

The concept of receiving a bonus is pretty simple. Bonuses are always separate from salaries. As mentioned above, bonuses are always given on top of salaries. You should separately disclose the base pay and any on-target earnings (OTE) when advertising a position. Employees may feel misled if bonuses are advertised as part of the base income, and they risk being hauled before an employment tribunal. It is fraud and unethical if you advertise the salary, including bonuses. 

How is bonus money determined?

Bonuses can be based on corporate earnings but are typically performance-related. Your employment contract or employee handbook should provide information on your bonus plan in full.

Any incentives you give out as an employer must be reported on a T4 bonus pay slip. The website of the Canadian government has further details about this. To report the following, utilize your T4 pay slip. For instance, Salary, Bonuses and commissions, taxable advantages, Payroll deduction, Paid time off

What is the bonus tax rate? 

The most simple answer to this question is yes, the bonus is indeed taxable. Any incentives you provide your employees are, in fact, taxable. Employers are obliged to deduct bonuses in Canada from employment insurance (EI) payments, federal and provincial income taxes, and contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), in addition to any other sums given to employees. The amount of tax withheld from your employees’ bonus pay must be shown explicitly on your T4 pay slip when you produce it.

What percentage of a bonus do you tax?

The tax rate on bonuses is the same as the tax rate on their base monthly wage.

 federal income tax rates:

  • 15% of the first $49,020 in taxable income is taxed.
  • 20% of the subsequent $49,020 in taxable income.
  • 26% of the following $53,939 in taxable income.
  • on the subsequent $64,533 in taxable income, 29%.
  • above $216,511 in taxable income, 33%


This blog has covered the bonus tax rate in Canada. Bonuses are given by companies to ensure that their employees’ finest work is valued and that they are motivated. Bonuses are frequently one-time sums of money given to employees on top of their normal salary or income. A bonus must be taxed correctly in order to avoid financial penalties. Bonuses are always paid in addition to salaries. Even though they might be based on business profits, bonuses are usually tied to performance. Employers must withhold bonuses in Canada from employment insurance (EI) benefits, federal and provincial income taxes, and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions. Next time you get a bonus, do not forget to pay tax. 

Salman Rundhawa
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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