The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a flexible, registered, general-purpose savings vehicle that allows Canadians to earn tax-free investment income to more easily meet lifetime savings needs. The TFSA complements existing registered savings plans like the Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) and the Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP).
How the Tax-Free Savings Account Works
- NEW: Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to increase the TFSA annual contribution limit from $5,500 to $10,000, starting in 2015.
- All Canadian residents, aged 18 or older, can contribute to a TFSA.
- Investment income earned in a TFSA is tax-free.
- Withdrawals from a TFSA are tax-free.
- Unused TFSA contribution room is carried forward and accumulates in future years.
- Full amount of withdrawals can be put back into the TFSA in future years. Re-contributing in the same year may result in an over-contribution amount which would be subject to a penalty tax.
- Choose from a wide range of investment options such as mutual funds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and bonds.
- Contributions are not tax-deductible.
- Neither income earned within a TFSA nor withdrawals from it affect eligibility for federal income-tested benefits and credits, such as Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and the Canada Child Tax Benefit.
- Funds can be given to a spouse or common-law partner for them to invest in their TFSA.
- TFSA assets can generally be transferred to a spouse or common-law partner upon death.
For further information, please visit Economic Action Plan 2015 and the Canada Revenue Agency’s TFSA website.