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How can I avoid withholding tax on my RRSP dividends?

Dear Nancy Woods,

I am inquiring a little bit more on the taxable dividends held within the RRSP. I do not deal with a brokerage firm so therefore have not completed the W8Ben form you mention. I have a self-directed account and would like to know how I can not have tax taken off and how I can get a refund back from the tax they have withheld this year and previous years? Who do I submit this form to?

Your response would be greatly appreciated.

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Dear Bev,

You do not need a W8Ben for an RRSP account.  Any U.S. company stock that pays a dividend and is held in an account deemed for retirement purposes is exempt from the non-residency withholding tax. That does not include a TFSA because it is not specifically designed for retirement savings.

If you are referring to only your RRSP there would not have been any withholding tax deducted and therefore nothing to claim back.

If there was any withholding tax deducted, the stock may be listed on a U.S. exchange rather than a U.S. company.



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Nancy Woods, CIM, FCSI, is an associate portfolio manager and investment adviser with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. To ask her a question, send an e-mail to or visit her web site at


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