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Contributions reduce your taxable income, lowering the tax you pay so you can keep more in your pocket.
Your investments grow, tax-deferred, while in the RRSP.
Income-splitting can be achieved through a spousal RRSP which allows the higher income earning spouse to contribute to an RRSP in their spouse's name. These helps even out retirement income and lower your income taxes both now and in retirement.
RRSPs can be used for more than just retirement. Canadian government programs allow you to access funds in your RRSP to help you buy your first home or pursue further education.
Anyone who files an income tax return and has earned income can open and contribute to an RRSP. There are limits on how much you can contribute to an RRSP each year. You can contribute the lower of:
There are two programs you can use to take money out of an RRSP plan without incurring tax. They are the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP).
RRSPs have been around a lot longer than their tax-free cousin. The RRSP was introduced in 1957 by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. Fifty-one years later in 2008, the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper rolled out the Tax-Free Savings Account.
There is no minimum age for starting an RRSP, but you do need to have an income. The very last day you’re allowed to contribute to your RRSP is December 31 of your seventy-first year. Meanwhile, you can’t open a TFSA until you’re at least 18 years old and there’s no upper age limit for contributing to the tax-free savings vehicle.
If you are not a member of a registered pension plan (RRP) or deferred profit sharing plan (DPSP) through your employer, the RRSP contribution limit for 2016 is 18% of your 2015 income up to a maximum of $25,370. So if you earned $45,000 last year, your contribution limit this year will be $8,100. The TFSA contribution limit this year for all Canadians over 18 years of age is $5,500, regardless of income. Also, any unused TFSA contribution room rolls over each year. In fact, an adult who was 18 when the savings tool was introduced in 2009, would have accumulated $46,500 in contribution room, as of 2016.
Contributions to RRSPs are made with before-tax money. In other words, you don’t pay income tax on RRSP contributions, which makes for a larger tax refund when you file your return. Alternately, TFSA contributions are made with after-tax money. This means you have already paid the income tax on any money put into your TFSA so it can’t help lower your tax burden like the RRSP.
As RRSP contributions are tax deductible, any withdrawals made from your RRSP are taxed in accordance with your income that year. Contributions to your TFSA have already been taxed, so any withdrawals you make are tax-free. This means that any growth you earned inside your RRSP is taxable but the growth earned inside your TFSA is, well, tax-free.
Both RRSPs and TFSAs allow you to carry forward unused contribution room. However, if you choose to withdraw funds from your RRSP, the contribution room is lost and you don’t get to replenish it later. On the other hand, if you take money out of a TFSA, the amount withdrawn will be added back to the next year’s contribution room.
The following are the three tax advantages to your RRSP Contribution:
You get immediate tax relief by deducting your RRSP contributions from your income each year. Effectively, your contributions are made with pre-tax dollars.
The money you make on your RRSP investments i.e. your interest or investment income is not taxed as long as it stays in the plan.
You'll pay tax on your RRSP savings when you withdraw them from the plan. That includes both your investment earnings and your contributions. But you have deferred this tax liability to the future when it’s possible that your marginal tax rate will be lower in retirement than it was during your contributing years
Following are the types of RRSP accounts and it can be set up with either one or two associated individuals: