What is taxable Income in Canada? 3 Best things to learn

March 7, 2023

Taxes are a fundamental aspect of living in Canada, and it is important to understand what taxable income is and how it is determined. Taxable income is the portion of your income that is subject to tax. It includes all the money you make from your employment, investments, and other sources, minus any deductions and credits you are eligible for. 

In this article, we will delve deeper into what constitutes tax income, how to calculate it, and what are the types of tax income. 

What is taxable income and how is it determined? 

Taxable income is the amount of income that is subject to tax. It is determined by subtracting eligible deductions and credits from your total income.

What is considered taxable income? 

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers the following as tax income: 

  • Employment income: This includes salaries, wages, bonuses, and tips. 
  • Self-employment income: If you are self-employed, your profit (revenue less expenses) is considered taxable, and you are responsible for paying your own taxes. 
  • Investment income: This includes interest, dividends, capital gains, and rental income. 
  • Pension income: This includes income from a registered pension plan or a registered retirement income fund. 
  • Government benefits: Some government benefits, such as Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, are taxable. 
  • Other income: This includes income from any other sources not listed above, such as foreign income.  

How do you find your taxable income? 

To find your income which is taxable, you need to subtract all eligible deductions from your total income. Eligible deductions include things like RRSP contributions, childcare expenses, and certain employment expenses. The resulting amount is your income that is taxable. 

What are the types of Taxable Income in Canada? 

There are three types of taxable income in Canada: 

  • Active income: This is income that you earn from your employment or business activities. 
  • Passive income: This includes income from investments, such as dividends /capital gains and rental income. 
  • Benefits income: This is income from government assistance or benefits like unemployment income or worker’s compensation. 

What is taxable income for a business? 

Taxable income for a business is the amount of profit that the business earns in a given tax year. The business can claim certain expenses, against its revenue,  to reduce its taxable profit. 

What is the minimum taxable income? 

In Canada, there is no minimum taxable income. Every dollar earned should be reported. Even if your income is very low and you don’t owe taxes, you should still file a tax return. This is because you may be eligible for refundable tax credits or other benefits. 

How to calculate taxes owing for an individual? 

To calculate your taxable liability, you need to follow these steps: 

  • Determine your total income, which includes all sources of income. 
  • Deduct any eligible deductions, such as RRSP contributions & child care expenses. This amount becomes your taxable income which we use with your marginal tax rates to calculate your taxes owing.  
  • Calculate the tax credits, such as the basic personal amount, medical, and donations – and apply this amount against your taxes payable.   
  • The resulting amount is your tax liability!. 


Understanding taxable income is crucial to staying on top of your taxes and avoiding penalties. It is important to keep track of all your income sources and deductions to ensure that you pay the right amount of taxes. A common mistake when people have multiple sources of income is – individually these sources may not be large so you think taxes will be lower…. but because they are combined to determine taxable income end up putting you in a higher tax bracket than you assumed.  

 If you have any questions about your taxable income, consult with us. Visit Dharnacpa and Book an Appointment.


Is taxable income the same as gross income? 

– No, taxable income is not the same as gross income. Gross income is the total amount of income earned from all sources, while taxable income is the amount of income that is subject to federal income tax after accounting for deductions, exemptions, and other adjustments. 

Are government benefits taxable? 

– Yes, benefits like Old Age Security or CPP payouts are taxable .. it gets added to your total income.  If your net world income exceeds the threshold amount ($81,761 for 2022), you have to repay part or your entire OAS pension referred to as a clawback.  

Are dividends taxable? 

– Yes, dividends are generally taxable. The amount of tax you owe on dividends will depend on a variety of factors, including your income level, the type of dividends you receive, and your tax filing status. 

Is pension taxable? 

– Yes, pensions are generally taxable as income. The amount of tax you owe on your pension will depend on a variety of factors, including your income level, the type of pension you have, and your tax filing status. 

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