Continuing on from How Investing Taxes Work – Capital Gains Tax, we will now discuss dividend and interest distribution taxes. For those of you who didn’t read the first article, here is my disclaimer: These tax guidelines described in this post are for Canada only. On top of that, you should consult a tax professional before applying anything you read on my blog and the web in general. With that out of the way, lets start with dividend distribution taxes.

Dividend Taxes/Dividend Tax Credit

What is a dividend?

  • Dividends are payments/distributions from public corporations to its shareholders. Dividend paying companies typically pay their distributions on a quarterly basis.

Why are dividends tax efficient to shareholders?

  • Dividends are tax efficient for shareholders because distributions are paid out with after-tax corporate dollars. Meaning that the company pays out the dividend distributions AFTER it has paid all of its taxes to the government. This is the reason why when you receive a dividend payment from a Canadian public company, you are eligible for the enhanced dividend tax credit.

How do I calculate the dividend tax and dividend tax credit?

With the enhanced dividend tax credit, gross up any dividends that you receive (from a Canadian public corp) for the year by multiplying it by 38% (2012).

  • Ex: $1000 dividends received in 2012 * 38% = $1380

You add this amount to your income for the year. You take this total amount and figure out your marginal tax rate.

  • Ex. $55k + $1380 = $56380 (31.15% in ON)

Multiply your grossed up amount by your marginal tax rate to figure out total taxes owed.

  • $1380 * 31.15% = $429.87

Calculate Federal Tax Credit and Provincial Tax Credit

  • $1380 * 15.02% (Federal rate) = $207.28
  • $1380 * 6.4% (ON) = $88.32
  • Total tax payable on $1000 worth of dividends: $429.87 – $207.28 – $88.32 = $134.27 or 13.4% on dividends received.
  • Or, you can go on the web and find a tax calculator to do it all for you.

How about dividends from foreign companies?

  • Dividends received from foreign companies do NOT qualify for the dividend tax credit and are 100% taxable. For all intents and purposes, you can treat foreign dividend income as interest income.

Other thoughts and tips:

  • In ON, with no other income and single, an investor can receive up to $56k in eligible dividends and pay very little tax (~$790). If the investor has a spouse who also has no other income, you can receive up to $62k in dividends and pay about $800 in tax.
  • This is probably why early retirees like Derek Foster have used this strategy.
  • Note though that if you only receive dividend income, you may be subject to alternative minimum tax.
  • However, if you are over 65 the high dividend gross up may negatively affect your OAS payouts. Consult a financial planner before switching to dividend paying vehicles.

Tax on Interest Income

What is Interest Income?

  • Interest income is interest received from GICs, high interest savings accounts, bonds, and private loans.

How is Interest taxed?

  • Interest income is 100% taxable. This means that if you earn $1000 in interest for the year, $1000 is added to your income and taxed at your marginal rate. (40% tax rate = $400 to be paid in taxes – OUCH!)

Where should I keep interest income?

  • Interest income, if possible, should be kept INSIDE a registered account (RRSP) due to its high taxation.

In Summary:

  • Dividends received from Canadian public corporations are tax preferred, so you should consider keeping these dividends outside your RRSP. Yes, I know, I should be following my own advice. :)
  • Interest income should be kept inside an RRSP b/c of its high taxation.

Alright, I think I’ve covered everything that I wanted to. I hope that you learned something. As I said before, I’m not a tax expert so if you see any errors, let me know.

You may also be interested in my article:

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).


  1. canadian dollars on January 23, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for the post FT! I did not know that foreign dividends are taxed as interest income. Good to know!

  2. […] Home > General, Tax Minimization > How Investing Taxes Work (Part 1 – Capital Gains) Canadian Personal Finance BlogsHow Investing Taxes Work (Part 2 – Dividends and Interest) […]

  3. Shaun on January 26, 2007 at 11:54 pm


    Thanks for the two articles on investing taxes. Very helpful! Question regarding the brokerage: Do they withhold taxes (other then RRSP related taxes) when you sell? If so, do they just withhold taxes on your gains? What about losses?

    Thanks – Shaun

  4. FrugalTrader on January 27, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Hi Shaun,

    When you sell stock for capital gain/loss, whether foreign or not, they will not withhold anything for taxes. You are responsible for paying the taxes at the end of the year.

    However, they WILL withhold a % for foreign DIVIDENDS received.

    Hope this answers your questions.

  5. […] 2. Dividend Income: $18.71/month (from non-reg account) […]

  6. […] I believe that investing in mostly Canadian dividend paying stocks/mutual funds/ETF’s is the most efficient way to implement the SM. The reason being is that Canadian dividends of strong companies (like the big banks) have a history of increasing dividends that can be used to pay down the non-deductible mortgage. Why not just buy interest bearing bonds or GIC’s? Publicly traded companies that pay dividends in Canada are eligible for the enhanced dividend tax credit which results in a substantial tax break for dividends compared to interest bearing income. […]

  7. […] For Canadians, it is more efficient to hold U.S dividend payers INSIDE of your RRSP. Please see my article on dividend taxes here. […]

  8. cihanlee on March 29, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Hi all,

    I just had one basic question. Well lets say I have been maxing out my RRSP over the years until my retirement, and what happens if my income at my retirement is not in a lower tax bracket? So when I take out my funds from my RRSP when I am 65, and my tax rate is 40%, how much will I be charged to take out my funds? Thanks, this subject always confused me.

  9. FrugalTrader on March 29, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    When you withdraw from an RRSP, it is counted as INCOME for that year. The initial withdrawal will incur a with holding tax:
    10% for up to $5k
    20% from $5k-15k
    30% for > $30k.

    So during tax season for that year, your RRSP withdrawals will be counted the same as employment income.

    For example, if you made $20k in regular income during your retirement, and withdrew $20k from your RRSP, assuming no other income, you’ve made $40k for that year. Use the calculator for your province to figure out your tax owing minus the withholding amount from your RRSP withdrawal.

    Make sense?


  10. cihanlee on March 29, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks FT, it makes a lot of sense now, appreciate it.

  11. Mr. Cheap on May 24, 2007 at 11:45 am

    The tax implications of interest income has really cooled me off on it (in the past all my investments were in GICs / Canada Savings Bonds). I dabbled in the stock market right before the dot-com crash and lost 75% of my principle (15K). I’m now totally hot on real-estate and dividends (in large part due to the favourable tax treatment) and basically am totally ignoring stocks (my plan is to max out my RRSP with strong high-yield US dividend payers such as Washington Mutual). I know people typically advise that having bonds in the mix is useful, could someone run though the numbers (or point to someone running the numbers) as to why? thanks!

  12. Mr. Cheap on May 24, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I know that the “approved” asset allocation includes bonds, however the 100% taxation and low yields has really scared me off. I used to invest only in GICs and CSB, and have since become very enthusiastic about real estate and dividend stocks. My plan is to max out my RRSP with good US dividend payers (like Washington Mutual right now) and keep most of my non-RRSP investments in good Canadian dividend payers (like Rothmans and Bank of Montreal right now).

    Could anyone run the numbers (or point me towards someone who has run the numbers) of what the danger/benefit would be of including bonds in the mix? Obviously I’d be willing to re-think things if interest rates shot up…

  13. FrugalTrader on May 24, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    Cheap: In an ideal world, every portfolio should have a percentage of bonds in them due to the negative correlation between bonds and equities. If you are going to purchase bonds, most would recommend that you hold them within your RRSP for taxation reasons.

  14. Ed Rempel on May 27, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Hi Ft & Cheap,

    Bonds are not actually negatively correlated with stocks. That is a popular misconception. They have a relatively low correlation – between 10-40%, depending on which market and which bond market. Including bonds in your portfolio will reduce your risk, but it will also reduce your long term return. Outside your RRSP, the tax cost makes them quite unfavourable.

    There are alternatives, however. The correlation between the TSX and bonds is not much lower than the correlation between the TSX and several of the most boring sectors, such as utilities, health care, real estate and consumer staples. Also, recently the TSX has a 30% negative correlation with the U.S. dollar and a low 30% correlation to the S&P500.

    The point of this is that you can get similar diversification by carefully designing an all equity portfolio. You need to be cautious with this, since these correlations vary over time and can disappear in a huge stock market crash. However, this is why some equity fund managers have lower risk levels than most balanced funds.

    We have found that by carefully defining and measuring risk, we can have 100% equity portfolios for moderate risk clients and 80% equity portfolios for conservative clients – and still remain within their risk tolerance.


  15. Mr. Cheap on May 29, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    FT & Ed: Thanks for your responses!

  16. Dorothy on June 26, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that your statement about being able to earn $66,000 in eligible Canadian dividends before any federal tax is payable is not correct. That is the amount that could be earned if Alternative Minimum Tax did not kick in at $49,000. The Canadian Tax Calculator on, at, calculates alternative minimum tax, so you can see exactly what tax you would pay on your eligible dividends.

  17. FrugalTrader on June 26, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Dorothy! Great point! AMT is something that I don’t know a lot about. Time to do some research.

  18. […] If you have any interest bearing investments like GIC's etc, make sure that they are held within your RRSP. […]

  19. How Bond/GIC Ladders Work! | Million Dollar Journey on September 10, 2007 at 5:00 am

    […] Interest income is 100% taxable, however, unless you have other income during retirement, your RRSP'S are also 100% taxable at your marginal rate anyways. […]

  20. RRSP Meltdown Strategy | Million Dollar Journey on September 17, 2007 at 5:02 am

    […] have a very large dividend based portfolio, it may affect your Old Age Security (OAS) payout.  Dividends are grossed up (45%) which is counted as your income for OAS calculation […]

  21. Jim McCartney on November 9, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I used 20,000.$ in savings to support a line of credit of 30,000$. This money was invested in a registered Canadian company. Will there be tax benefits to me? Like can the interest paid on this line of credit become a deduction for me on my personal IT? Is this a fact or myth?

  22. FrugalTrader on November 9, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Jim, i’m not sure what you mean by using the $20k to support a line of credit of $30k. Does that mean that the actual amount that you borrowed is $10k? Or $30k?

    If you use borrowed money to invest (with income potential), then the interest paid on the loan is tax deductible.

  23. Jim McCartney on November 9, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    By support I mean, the bank wanted me to invest 20K in a bank GIC. By doing this they extended me a 30K line of credit. My interest payments are running an average of 250.00 per month. My business is not making me any money yet. Slow catching on. Therefore I have no income from my business. I am prepared to perservere for another 8 months and then I’ll have to close the doors. I hope this helps. Thank You for your quick response.

  24. […] there is more incentive to hold USD dividend paying stocks.  As explained my dividend taxation article, USD dividends are taxed like interest thus making it unattractive to hold outside an […]

  25. Kyle I on March 23, 2008 at 9:38 am

    If I invest in a Canadian Based Mutual Fund that pays Dividends, is the money earned from the Mutual fund applied the same as the Dividend tax credit? I dont have to buy 1 particular Canadian stock to receive this do I? And how would you calculate the amount earned if it is not registered as an RSP? Does the company supply you with some form of tax sheet to help in doing your personal taxes? Thanks :)

  26. FrugalTrader on March 23, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Kyle, the mutual fund distribution depends on the mutual fund itself. At the end of the year, you should get a tax form explaining the various distributions from the mutual fund. If they don’t supply the tax info, they should have the info on their website.

  27. Rohan on March 24, 2008 at 1:40 am

    If I reinvest dividends does that mean I do not pay taxes on the dividends?

  28. DAvid on March 24, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Yes, you pay taxes on them. Do a web search using “reinvestment dividends taxes Canada” and you’ll find lots of info.


  29. JR on April 8, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    My thoughts on this one, is to buy an underlying security on the US exchanges.

    Look for low P/E and high dividend yields.

    If the stock has options, even better. Sell a CC in the money (deeper the better) and way out in the option calendar.

    Collect the higher dividend rate on the lower cost, and see also if you can get the rollover.

    10 – 15% should be easy enough

    To find the high dividend stocks, simple google

    For low or high P/E ratio’s (toggle)

    Have fun

  30. Mark on April 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I was wonder about dividend credits and income. My wife works as do I so how much tax would we pay on the dividends along with our incomes? Is there a table or formula for calculating?

  31. Ed Rempel on April 10, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Hi Mark,

    Check out the tax table in the TFSA article: .

    If your income is between $10-37,000, then dividends have negative tax (dividend income reduces tax) and all brackets other than the highest bracket (over $120,000) are taxed lower than other types of income if you are under 65.The latest budget has set the trend to eliminate this, which we obviously expected, so the negative tax should be gone by 2010. Dividends are taxed favourably, since the corporation that paid them has already paid tax on that income.

    Tax on dividends for seniors is mostly quite a bit higher than capital gains, though, and is punitively high for low income seniors – as high as 7%.


  32. Ed Rempel on April 23, 2008 at 2:37 am

    Hi Mark,

    Oops, did I say “as high as 7%” for low income seniors? Tax on dividends after age 65 is actually 73% if you have no other income. That is punitively high.

    It is generally 30% or higher for anyone over 65 with income over $37,000 or under $15,000.


  33. RG on May 1, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Great articles! I just had a couple of questions

    I am interested in buying stock in a Canadian public company, does it matter if I buy it on the TSE or the NYSE to be eligible for the “enhanced dividend tax credit” you spoke of?

    Also, what is the scope on “TRUST” funds?


  34. FrugalTrader on May 2, 2008 at 3:30 am

    RG, only Canadian public companies are eligible for the enhanced div tax credit. US div are taxed like interest, 100% @ your marginal rate.

    Some trusts do contain a dividend portion, but most distribute interest and return of capital.

  35. Four Pillars on May 2, 2008 at 11:51 am

    RG – just to add to FT’s comment – while it’s true that only Canadian companies are eligible for the enhanced dividend, it doesn’t matter which exchange you buy it in (or what currency) – you will own the same company.

    ie one share of BMO bought on the TSX is the same as a share bought on AMEX.


  36. […] do I hedge against these painful bills? By becoming part owner of the company and collecting the tax efficient dividends. You see, most of our (Canadian) bills are from big strong dividend payers that are on the market […]

  37. MAC on June 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Banks in the US are getting beat, would this be a good time to buy them.

    Bank of America | BAC-N is trading at ~$30.44 and pays a yearly dividen of 2.56 (~8.4% dividen rate of return). Is this correct, seems like this is a good investment even when taxed at 100%?

  38. The Canadian Tax Blogger on March 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Foreign securities inside the TFSA will be subject to foreign withholding tax based on the terms of the tax treaty Canada has with the other country. Right now U.S. dividends are subject to 15% withholding and interest on U.S. bonds is not subject to withholding.

    Also, there is no foreign tax credit available for withholding taxes inside the TFSA.

    Canada would have to re-negotiate its tax treaties before withholding could be eliminated…Since we just finished the treaty with the US I doubt withholding for TFSA would be eliminated any time soon.

  39. Marly on April 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Wonderful and informative web site.I used information from that site its great.0

  40. Shannon on April 28, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I make $80,000. My wife makes $55,000. My dividend’s are taxed at 12.91%. My wife’s would be taxed at 6.94% if she were to hold them. Question is can she claim the dividends on her Tax Return even though they are in my brokerage account?
    Would there be any complications because the loan I have for these investments is an investment loan. Will I still be able to write off the interest as an expense?

  41. Tax Guy on April 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

    @ Shannon

    Here is my answer:
    1) Whose account the investments are in is not relevant for tax purposes. The CRA will look at who beneficially owns the investment. That is, with whose funds were the investments purchased?

    Technically the Tax Act requires marries couples to track every dollar earned in the marriage.

    2) If the investment was bought with a loan the interest deductibility depends on whose loan it is. With a joint HELOC the issue is not clear at all. At best it may be 50/50. I know a colleague has posed this exact question to the CRA but a response isn’t expected until the fall.

    Ed Rempel may have some thoughts as well.

  42. Frank on May 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I am confused by this calculation:

    Ex: $1000 dividends received in 2006 * 45% = $1450

    Should it be $450?

  43. FrugalTrader on May 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Frank, all eligible dividends are grossed up by 45% to calculate the dividend tax credit.

  44. Northern Alex on July 26, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Can I use the dividend tax credit for Canada ETFs, too, like XIU?

  45. Northern Alex on July 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Me again! :) Just read in the forum that Canadian ETFs are included in the dtc.

  46. Ed Rempel on July 26, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Shannon,

    However, claims the interest deduction on the loan must also claim any tax on the investments.

    Tax Guy is right about the beneficial owner being taxed, not necessarily the one whose name is on the account. You need to take a tax position on who borrowed the money to invest.


  47. Ed Rempel on July 28, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Hi Shannon,

    Pardon the typo. I meant WHOEVER claims the interest deduction on the loan must also claim any tax on the investments.


  48. Mark in Nepean on July 30, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Question for all….

    If you have DRIPs, such as ones with CIBC Mellon or Compushare, and you never “see” the dividend income (because its always reinvested) do you have to pay tax on it?


  49. Mark in Nepean on July 30, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Question for all….

    If you have DRIPs, such as ones with CIBC Mellon or Computershare, and you never “see” the dividend income (because its always reinvested) do you have to pay tax on it?


  50. FrugalTrader on July 30, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Mark, if the DRIPs are held in a taxable account, then the dividends are taxable, even if they are reinvested.

  51. Tax Guy on July 31, 2009 at 12:03 am

    @ Mark:

    Outside a TFSA or RRSP – Yes. You pay tax on the dividend and will receive a tax slip. The amount of the dividend is used to buy more shares so your ACB changes as well.

  52. Brett S on January 30, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Hi FrugalTrader

    I opened a TFSA last year. i made a contribution of 2750. I wanted to buy US stocks in the TFSA. What is the tax structure on the dividends in the TFSA account? I thought that the dividends and growth was tax free for either US or CanadIan stocks in a TFSA. Please correct me if i am wrong.

    Great blog by the way very very good

  53. poorinvest on February 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I have Foreign dividend income this year and Canadian interest income. Can I claim a deduction on these based on a capital loss by selling a stock that I had incurred a few years ago?

    • FrugalTrader on February 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      As far as I know, you cannot claim capital loss against investment income, only capital gains.

  54. Ed Rempel on February 28, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Hi Brett,

    You are right. Any income in the TFSA is tax-free.


  55. Ed Rempel on February 28, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Hi poorinvest,

    FT is right, you can only claim capital losses against capital gains.

    Perhaps your blog name is accurate? :)


  56. bluegreen on April 1, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Are interest payments from US bond ETF subject to withholding taxes in a TFSA? What about US or international REITs?

    Thanks for the help.

  57. rad on April 15, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I live in Canada. If I purchase a ETF (listed on a foreign exchange such as Xetra) domiciled in Luxembourg whose components soley comprise of companies from the United States and the ETF fact sheet indicates that its dividend yield is 1.99% and under ‘Income Treatment’ it indicates “reinvestment” what are the tax implications for the following (assuming the ETF is kept in a non-registered account):

    1) How will the dividend be taxed? (According to the fact sheet it mentioned income is reinvested)

    2) Will capital gains be treated the same as ETFs domiciled in Canada? (i.e. 50% of the capital gains taxed at your marginal rate)

    Thank you

  58. Cristian on July 17, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    How are dividends received by a corporation taxed?
    I am an incorporated physician and I invest mainly through my corporation. The current corporate tax rate (small companies) is 13.5%.
    How would that apply to the calculation of dividend tax?


  59. FrugalTrader on July 18, 2010 at 11:55 am

    @ Cristian, the corporation will face it’s own tax like you mentioned. However, once you withdraw the money from the corp in the form of a dividend, the shareholder will face personal tax. You can read more from a past article on how it works:

  60. Cristian on July 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Actually I was talking about dividends earned by the corporation. I do pay myself personally dividends from the corporation and I pay almost no taxes on that.
    But I was wondering how are dividends earned by the corporation taxed. I know that interest is taxed at the maximum corporate rate (almost 50%), capital gains are taxed at half of that (because the other half is exempt), but it is not clear how dividends are taxed inside the corporation. I know that there is a gross-up of 45%, after which the tax is calculated (but how?), and then the dividend tax credit is applied.
    Any ideas on this?…
    Thank you,

  61. FrugalTrader on July 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Here is an article that explains dividends within a corporation:$File/tepg_taxtopic_CorpTax.pdf

    My understanding as well is that public dividends received within a corporation can be “flowed through” to shareholders and taxed in the hands of the shareholder instead of the corporation. But again, a tax pro should be consulted for the details.

  62. FrugalTrader on July 18, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Ok, after reviewing that document, I believe the conclusion is that dividends received within a corporation is taxed with a “part iv” tax which makes it basically the highest possible tax rate. However, it is refundable once the dividend is distributed to shareholders.

  63. Cristian on July 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you FrugalTrader for your input.
    That is what I pretty much suspected, I just didn’t know where to look for this information.
    So dividends received by a corporation are taxed at the maximum rate (like interest income), and then the dividend tax credit is applied.
    I hope I got it right.


  64. Former High-tech Worker on August 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Be VERY careful of assertions like “you can receive up to $48,900 in dividends and pay NO federal tax”. Your provincial tax may bite you. If you live in Ontario, _no matter how old you are_, you will be dinged for more “Health premium”. After the High-tech layoffs, when I needed to live off my investments, I discovered that with only $16K in real dividend income, because of the gross-up I was both paying income tax (at a marginal rate of 37%), AND I had dividend tax credits I could not use. Anyone living in Ontario (or advising people living in Ontario), should take note. (Hint hint, to all the Alberta-resident tax experts.)

  65. David on December 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Hi everybody

    As I know we pay 100% tax on the interest income received from bonds.

    What if I invest in bond index funds or bond index tracking ETFs
    Will my income taxed as interest or as dividends?
    If invest in bond index funds or bond index tracking ETFs will I be eligible for dividend tax credit?

    Thank you all in advance

  66. FrugalTrader on December 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    @David, if it’s a bond ETF, then the distributions will be in the form of interest.

  67. FrugalTrader on December 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Actually, a better answer is to visit the website of the ETF and check out their distributions. It’s believe bond etfs can distribute ROC as well, but not certain.

  68. David on December 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you for your replay

    are bond ETFs different from bond index funds in terms of taxes?

    thanks again

  69. David on December 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I mean besides the fact that ETFs can reduce capital gains
    Is the income from bond index funds considered as interest or dividents

  70. Kevin on January 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I’m unclear on why holding interest income in an RRSP is favourable. You indicated that interest income is fully taxable, 100% as regular income.

    Withdrawals from an RRSP are … wait for it … fully taxable, 100% as regular income.

    So what’s the advantage?

    This article was written in 2007, before the TFSA, but now that TFSA’s are available, doesn’t it make much more sense to hold interest income in a TFSA, where it’s not taxed at all, rather than inside an RRSP, where it’s taxed 100% as regular income (just as it would be OUTSIDE of an RRSP)?

    • FrugalTrader on January 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

      @Kevin, you are correct, but one thing you are missing is the taxation of the contribution amount. With RRSPs, you are investing with PRE-tax dollars (ie. gross income) providing that the tax refund is reinvested, whereas the TFSA, you are investing with after tax dollars (net income).

  71. Kevin on January 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm


    Right, of course, but that’s true of ANYTHING you hold in your RRSP, and is not unique to interest-earning instruments. Thus, I’m still not sure why you consider interest-bearing instruments to be particularly well-suited to being held in an RRSP, that’s all I mean.

    Like I said, TFSA’s are a much more efficient shelter in which to hold interest-income instruments, because you’re taking income that would otherwise be taxed at 100% (whether held within an RRSP or in an unregistered account), and reducing its taxation to 0%. You’re saving 100% of the tax.

    I mean to contrast this with, for example, capital gains, which attract 50% taxation in an unregistered account, 100% taxation within an RRSP, and 0% taxation within a TFSA. In this case, you’re saving 50% of the tax (compared to saving 100% of the tax for interest-income items). Thus, it could be argued that interest-bearing instruments are better suited to TFSA’s than RRSPs.

  72. Stephen on February 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Great article.

    I’ve got a question. It was calculated that the total tax payable on $1000 worth of dividents comes to $181.88

    What do you do with this $181.88 amount? Do you go back to step one, and now instead of adding $1450 to $55K, you add $181.88 now?

  73. James on November 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    My accountant is away so I’m hoping you can help me with an Interest Income question. I was under the impression that there is a tax credit that actually brings the effective tax rate down substantially on Interest Income.

    i.e – $100 of interest income is initially taxed at 43.7% but after tax credit the effective rate is closer to 26-28%, for a net gain of $72-$74?

    Has anyone heard of this?

    • FrugalTrader on November 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      @James, if it is truly income from interest (bonds/gics/money market/savings accounts), then it is taxed at your marginal rate. If it’s publicly traded dividends in a non-registered account, then you’re eligible for the dividend tax credit.

  74. Yoree on January 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Would keeping investments inside of TFSA give you a tax free status for dividends that companies pay you?

    • FrugalTrader on January 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      @Yoree, if the companies are Canadian, then yes, you would not have to pay any tax on them. However, if they are from a foreign country, then there will be a withholding tax. I keep all foreign dividends within an RRSP to bypass the withholding tax.

  75. Matt. on August 30, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I am pretty sure there is also a foreign dividend tax credit as well. For example, if you hold KO in an unregistered account, the IRS withholds 15% but you can claim that on your Canadian taxes.

    In short, for dividend investors, us dividends should be in reap or unregistered, but not in your TFSA. Hold your Canadian dividend companies in any of them, but especially your TFSA.

  76. FrugalTrader on August 30, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Good points Matt. More information on the withholding tax here:

    And about portfolio allocation for tax efficiency:

  77. Javed on September 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    If I buy Royal Bank shares in NY with in my US $ TFSA account.
    Would I have to pay the with holding tax on dividend?
    Would I get the dividend tax credit?
    How the capitol gains will be taxed by the US.

  78. FrugalTrader on September 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    @Javed, the withholding tax will automatically come out of your account. There is no dividend tax credit for US stocks no matter the account. There is no capital gains tax within a TFSA.

  79. Sam on March 26, 2015 at 6:37 pm


    I would like to borrow money to buy Canadian Mutual funds in a non-registered account and would like to know if I can dedict the intrest paid on investment loan is tax deductable or not ?


  80. Ed Rempel on March 26, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Sam,

    There should be no problem with tax deductibility for you. Essentially any mutual fund should be deductible, as long as you do not take tax-free distributions (such as from a T8 fund).


  81. Sam on March 28, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks Ed. Is it true for Canadian ETF’s as well ?



  82. Ed Rempel on March 31, 2015 at 12:10 am

    HI Sam,

    I am not an expert on ETFs, since I personally would not buy one. My understanding though, is that most may be fine but it is harder to be 100% sure. All mutual funds allow you to reinvest all distributions, which means you definitely have no issues with ROC reducing your tax deductibility. My understanding is that you don’t have that option with ETFs.

    If the ETF buys some REITs, for example, you could have some ROC in a distribution passed on to you.

    The way to maintain full deductibility is to make sure that 100% of all cash paid out by an ETF is either used to reinvest or to pay onto the investment loan. If you receive distributions that you think are dividends and you use them for another purpose, and then you find out at the end of the year that they included some ROC, then your investment loan is no longer 100% deductible – and it’s up to you to calculate properly what portion of the interest is still deductible and to be able to prove your calculation to CRA.


  83. Nikolai on March 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    I am wondering if anyone can explain me this phenomenon. I have a REIT that pays monthly distributions. Usually the record date is the last day of the month and the pay date is about two weeks after. Obviously, Dec 31st distribution is paid around Jan 15 next year. Yet, the brokers still include them in the T3 for the previous year, e.g. the year when the record date was. And, luckily, they do not include it twice ;), e.g. the first dividend in the tax forms for the next year is the one with the record date on Jan 31st and paid in February.

    I find this logic a bit weird since I am getting the actual money only next year. Does anyone know the CRA rule or ITA paragraph that requires such dividend treatment for tax purposes?

  84. Drew on October 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Great read, thank you for the enlightening article.

    I’m interested in knowing at which brokerage did you open your non-registered dividend account?

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