R105S – The New Simplified Tax Waiver

Late in the 2019 Summer tour season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) surprised the live entertainment community by introducing a long-awaited simplified waiver process. It allows eligible performers to benefit from a waiver or reduction of the 15% Federal R105 withholding tax without having to go through the traditional application process.

This simplified waiver process is not an application at all. It is a declaration completed and signed by both the non-resident individual performer and the buyer, which allows Canadian Federal withholding tax to be eliminated or reduced without pre-approval of the CRA.


There are only two eligibility requirements. The performer must be:

  1.  Contracted as an individual or group of individuals (not through a corporate entity), and
  2. Earning less than 15,000 CAD in Canada in the calendar year ( that limit applies to each person in a group). Earnings include performance fees plus any expenses reimbursed or paid on the performer’s behalf, such as meals or accomodations.

So what’s the catch?

For U.S. residents, there is no catch. As along as you are eligible, you are entitled to a full waiver. That is, there should be no Federal tax deducted from your fees.

For non-U.S. residents, the waiver is a reduction based on your net income, which means you have to provide a summary of allowed expenses to the buyer(s). Instead of withholding 15% from your gross fees, a buyer will withhold 23% of the net income you declare on your portion of the form.

This can still be quite beneficial – if you are earning 10,000 CAD, but are spending 7,000 CAD on travel, hotels, meals, and commissions, your tax will go from 1,500 CAD (10,000 x 15%) to 690 CAD (3,000 x 23%). You will save over 800 CAD just by filling out a form.

The simplified process still has many limitations – many performers work through wholly-owned corporations or LLCs, which are not eligible; off-stage staff such as technicians cannot use the simplified process; coordinating forms when there are multiple group members and multiple buyers can become quite tricky; for non-U.S. performers, amounts paid to support staff are not eligible expenses, and many expenses – accomodations, per diem, commissions – are capped such that they may not be able to claim the real cost of their expenses. Finally, for non-U.S. performers, the very idea of revealing your detailed expenses to buyers may be a turn-off.

Still, the simplified process has offered a window for a number of performers to benefit from some tax relief without having to invest their time or money in going through the traditional waiver process, which seems to become more complex with each passing year.

Don’t forget Quebec!

Performers hired in the province of Quebec should also keep in mind that the additional provincial withholding of 9% is an entirely separate matter. Having that additional withholding waived still requires a separate application to Revenu Quebec.

Now what?

Not sure if the R105 simplified waiver process is right for your upcoming shows in Canada? Don’t hesitate to contact us – we are always happy to chat and help guide you in the right direction.