The benefits and flexibility provided by a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) make it an ideal solution to save for multiple financial goals. While TFSA contributions are not tax deductible; they grow tax-free, can be withdrawn tax-free at any time, and there are no restrictions on how you use the funds once they’re withdrawn from your TFSA. Whether you’re saving for a new car, a home purchase, your child’s education or retirement, a TFSA can help you reach your financial goals sooner.
For 2016, the annual TFSA contribution limit is $5,500. Unused contribution room – dating back to 2009 when TFSAs were first introduced, or the year you turned 18 – carries forward and can be used in any future year. While the TFSA contribution limit was increased to $10,000 (from $5,500) in the April 2015 Federal Budget, the Liberal government subsequently announced it would revert back to $5,500, beginning January 1, 2016. It’s important to note that even if you did not take advantage of the $10,000 contribution limit in 2015, it will carry forward as part of your lifetime TFSA contribution limit for use in future years. Individuals are responsible for monitoring their TFSA contributions, which can be confirmed by contacting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by phone or through their online My Account service. Withdrawals from your TFSA are tax-free and any amount withdrawn in the current year will be added back to your TFSA contribution room at the beginning of the following calendar year. For example, let’s assume that you have no current unused TFSA contribution room and you withdrew $15,000 from your TFSA on January 15, 2016. On January 1, 2017, your TFSA contribution limit will increase to $20,500 ($15,000 withdrawn in 2016, plus your 2017 TFSA contribution limit of $5,500). In addition, TFSA withdrawals won’t impact your eligibility for federal income-tested benefits and credits such as Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, employment insurance benefits, child tax benefit and the GST credit.
TFSAs are ideal for implementing a variety of planning strategies, including:
Income-splitting – You can gift funds to your spouse/ common law partner (spouse/partner) or adult child to allow them to contribute to their own TFSA (subject to their personal TFSA contribution limit). Income earned within a spouse’s/partner’s or adult child`s TFSA will not be attributed back to you.
Consider holding investments in your TFSA that would otherwise be taxed at high rates outside of a registered account, such as interest income-producing investments.
With a TFSA you benefit from a plan that provides tax-free growth and offers the flexibility you need to meet multiple financial priorities over your lifetime.