Tax Rules On International Money Transfers To Canada

Tax Rules On International Money Transfers To Canada

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated April 18, 2022

If you’re bringing money into Canada — especially large sums of money — it’s important to know what the rules are in terms of declaring the funds to officials or paying taxes on them. 

Whether you’ve recently travelled and are making your way back into Canada or are expecting to receive a money transfer from abroad, there are a few important things to understand in order to avoid any penalties. 

Let’s take a closer look at international money transfers, particularly when it comes to taxation.

Tax Rules On Bringing Money Into Canada 

Whether or not you have to pay taxes on funds brought into Canada depends on if the money is considered a gift, or whether it’s money received from the proceeds of a sale. 

Generally speaking, most gift money is not taxed when it’s brought into Canada. However, if you’re receiving international funds from the sale of an asset, you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on that money. For example, if you are receiving funds after selling real estate, stocks, artwork, or any other asset of value, the money may be subject to a 50% capital gains tax. 

Do You Need To Report Cash You Receive To The CRA? 

If you’re bringing at least $10,000 CAD, these funds must be reported to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC). However, it’s usually your bank that will report these received funds, not you. 

If you’re physically bringing the money into Canada yourself after travelling abroad, you’ll need to declare these funds by filling out Form E311 or a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) declaration card. 

You will also need to report the money you receive to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when you file your taxes if it’s considered some form of income. In contrast, you won’t need to pay any income tax to the CRA for internationally-received funds that are considered a gift. 

What Happens If You Don’t Report The Money You Receive?

If you receive more than $10,000 in taxable income and do not report it, you could be faced with penalties. More specifically, you could be fined up to $5,000 and have your money seized.

FINTRAC and CRA reporting is meant to fight back against criminal activity, including money laundering and tax evasion. Funds that are not properly declared will be inspected by the CRA when your bank reports it. 

Once the CRA catches wind of your received funds that were not reported, they may send you a tax bill and charge you a penalty. In more serious cases, you could face legal trouble. 

For the most part, receiving large sums of money from outside of Canada shouldn’t be an issue, as long as you report your payments and properly file your taxes. 

How To Report Large International Money Transfers?

All banks and third-party providers that handle international money transfers are required to report transfers of at least $10,000 to the CRA and FINTRAC. As mentioned, it’s not your responsibility to report these transfers to the CRA and FINTRAC, since your bank will do that on your behalf when the funds are received. 

Large Money Transfers And Capital Gains Tax

When you make a profit after selling an asset of value, such as real estate or stocks, you’ll need to pay capital gains tax on half the amount you earned. That means half of the money will be taxed, while the other half is tax-free.

To calculate capital gains tax, follow these steps:

  1. Find out what the adjusted cost base is, which is what you originally paid when you bought the asset, plus any associated fees.
  2. Subtract the adjusted cost base from the sale price of the asset. 
  3. Divide that number in half.

The answer you get will be added to your taxable income when you file your taxes. The tax rate you’re charged on that amount is based on how much you earned in that tax year. 

How Much Money Can You Transfer To Canada? 

There’s no limit on how much money you can transfer into Canada. That said, your bank or money transfer service provider might have its own limits. But again, if you’re bringing in over $10,000 into Canada, it must be declared.

Ways To Transfer Large Sums Of Money To Canada

There are a few ways to transfer money into Canada, no matter how large or small the sum may be: 

Bank Transfer

A simple and convenient way to move money in and out of Canada is through a bank transfer. Since your bank is facilitating the transfer, the funds will be secure. However, the cost associated with this option is generally high. The funds will also be subject to a foreign exchange rate.

Cash

If you’re travelling outside of Canada, you can physically bring the cash in with you. While there are no fees associated with this method, it may not be as secure as a bank transfer. 

There are inherent risks associated with carrying large sums of cash. Plus, there are some regulations to adhere to when it comes to bringing in a lot of money into Canada, including the need to declare amounts of at least $10,000 to the border agent. 

PayPal

To use PayPal to send and receive money to and from Canada, you’ll need two bank accounts: one with a Canadian bank and the other in the country of origin. There are also fees associated with using Paypal.

Third-party services

There are several international money transfer providers available that can help you transfer money into Canada without the high fees that banks often charge.  

Transfer FeeAmount LimitsTransfer Time
No$100 – $50,0001 – 3 daysLearn More
Depends on type of transfer and country.$0.01 – $40,0000 – 5 daysLearn More
Depends on type of transfer, transfer method, amount, and country.$1 – $9990 -1 dayLearn More
Depends on type of transfer, transfer method, amount, and country.$1 – $990
1 dayLearn More
Varies by currency and transfer amount.$1 – $1,500,0001 – 2 daysLearn More
- $15 CAD for transfers less than $10,000 CAD
- Free for transfers more than $10,000 CAD
$150+$150+Learn More
No$1 – $500,00
1 dayLearn More
Free for transfers over £3,000$3,000+-Learn More
Depends on type of transfer, transfer method, amount, and country.Up to $10,002 – 3 daysLearn More
Varies by currency and transfer amount.Depends on sending limit tierUp to 3 daysLearn More
- $2.99 for transfers between $50 and $999
- Free for transfers over $999
$50 – $50,0006 or more daysLearn More
Depends on type of transfer, transfer method, amount, and country.-2 – 5 daysLearn More
based on the transfer destination, but start at CAD 3.00.$1 – $2,9990 – 4 daysLearn More
Depends on type of transfer, transfer method, amount, and country.$10 – $2,9992 – 5 daysLearn More
$0 – $29.99Up to $3,0000 -3 daysLearn More

Do You Need Any Documents To Receive Money Transfers? 

Your bank or money transfer provider will take care of all the necessary paperwork associated with transferring money into Canada and will ensure that they adhere to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. Having said that, it’s still a good idea to keep a paper trail of records and emails regarding the transfer just in case. 

If you’re coming into Canada with at least $10,000, you’ll need to fill out Form E311 or a CBSA declaration card, as mentioned earlier.  

FAQs On Tax Rules For Large Money Transfers Into Canada

Can you bring money into Canada without paying tax?

Yes, you can bring money into Canada without paying taxes on it, as long as the funds were given to you as a gift. But if the money is from a recent sale of an asset, you will have to pay taxes on it. 

How much money can you receive from abroad without tax in Canada?

There’s no legal limit to the amount of gift money you can bring into Canada when it comes to taxation.  However, the proceeds from a sale of an asset will be taxed.

Can I avoid reporting large money transfers by splitting up a transfer into smaller transactions?

Splitting up a large sum of money into smaller amounts to avoid reporting it is considered fraudulent. Referred to as “structuring,” this practice is used by people who actively try to trick officers. Money transfer service providers are trained on how to spot this activity and will report it to FINTRAC, who will investigate you.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re just getting back from travelling abroad or are expecting a money transfer from someone in another country, there may be rules attached to the receipt of these funds. Be sure to understand what these rules are to avoid any financial repercussions or even legal action.


Rating of 5/5 based on 4 votes.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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