FAQ – Accounts and services – TFSAs

Lower RRIF minimum withdrawals

If you want to know more about the government’s announcement to lower RRIF minimum withdrawals, speak to your caisse advisor or go to the Government of Canada website - External link. This link will open in a new window..

RRSP allows you to put aside money tax-free to save for retirement, while also reducing your taxable income. You can use it, for example, to save for retirement, pay for your education or buy your first home.

TFSA allows you to put aside money tax-free to save up for anything you want. Renovate your home, start a business, or travel, the possibilities are endless!

Compare them to see the benefits of each product and find out which one's right for you.

To know more about RRSPs and TFSAs: separating fact from fiction

Maximize your TFSA contributions by using as much of your contribution room as you can.

Years Annual limit
2009 to 2012 $5,000
2013 and 2014 $5,500
2015 $10,000
2016 to 2018 $5,500
2019 to 2021 $6,000
Total $75,500

If you’ve never contributed to a TFSA and you meet the eligibility requirements going back to 2009, your cumulative contribution limit in 2021 is $75,500.

Your decision to open a TFSA or an RRSP first should be based on a number of criteria, such as your age, family situation, income and future plans.

Starting with a TFSA might be the best option if you're looking to save money but keep it accessible in case you need it. You can then transfer your savings to an RRSP to save on taxes. Make an appointment with a Desjardins advisor to find the right savings strategy for you.

You can transfer funds from your TFSA savings to your Personal Chequing Account (PCA) on AccèsD.

  1. Click on the Transfers button in the right-hand menu and then on Transfers between accounts.
  2. Check From next to your TFSA Savings Account.
  3. Check To next to the destination account.
  4. Enter the transfer amount.
  5. Click on Validate.
  6. Then click on Confirm.

If you don't see a From button next to your TFSA Savings Account, please contact your caisse.

No, TFSAs are not included in family patrimony, because they are not part of a retirement plan. Although several people use TFSAs to save for retirement, the account was not designed for that purpose.

Up to date information is available on the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). New forms, policies and guidelines are posted on the site as they become available.

A 1% monthly tax applies to all contributions exceeding the eligible amount, starting on the month you exceed the limit and for each month the contributions remain in the account. This penalty will continue to apply until the first of the following events takes place: you withdraw the entire surplus or the surplus can be absorbed by your contribution limit.

No. As soon eligibility criteria are met, your contribution room begins accumulating each year, even if you earn no income.

Yes, your TFSA can be directly transferred to your ex-spouse tax-free under a court order or decree, or an agreement in written form. The transfer will not affect unused TFSA contribution room for either spouse. However, if you wish to recover your TFSA contribution room for the following year, you would be better off withdrawing the amount from your TFSA and making out a cheque to your ex-spouse.

No. Since TFSA withdrawals are not taxable, they cannot affect your eligibility for federal benefits and credit based on income, such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or the Goods and Services Tax credit.

Under government rules, only individual TFSA accounts are allowed. However, you can contribute the maximum to your TFSA, and give your spouse, or children who have reached the age of majority, money to contribute to their TFSAs, regardless of income splitting rules. In this way, you invest a lot more money in a tax shelter while benefiting your family, as the assets remain the legal property of your spouse or your children.

If your TFSA is transferred to your spouse by a will bequest or otherwise, all savings accumulated in your TFSA will be transferred to your spouse's TFSA without affecting his or her contribution room. These savings will continue to be tax-sheltered.

Until further notice, in Quebec, if your spouse is your heir, the income earned in the TFSA between the date of your death and the moment of the transfer will be paid to your spouse and will be taxable.

Unlike RRSP contribution room, your unused TFSA contribution is forfeited at your death. Your succession will not be able to contribute to your TFSA after your death for your spouse's benefit.

Since TFSA investment income and capital gains are tax-sheltered, capital loss sustained in your TFSA cannot be deducted to compensate for other taxable gains.

Yes. You can use your TFSA to save up for buying a home since TFSA investment income and withdrawals are tax-free. If you're buying your first home, another smart move would be to transfer money from your TFSA to an RRSP when your income is higher. The RRSP contribution will lower your income taxes and you will be able to use money from your RRSP to make a downpayment through the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP). Remember to keep the amount you contributed in your RRSP for 90 days before withdrawing it.

Yes. You can transfer some non-registered investment products—such as Desjardins Funds or redeemable term savings—to a TFSA. However, such a transfer could be taxable since it is deemed to have been disposed at the investment's fair market value. For example, if the value of your transferred asset has appreciated, your capital gain will be accounted for at the moment of the transfer. However, any capital loss will be deemed annulled and cannot be used to reduce other taxable gains.

As long as you are not a resident, you may not make TFSA contributions and no contribution room accumulates. However, you may keep your TFSA. Your investment income and withdrawals will continue to be tax free in Canada. However, you may contribute your allowable annual maximum limit to your TFSA up to the day you cease to be a Canadian resident.

Yes. For example, you could have a TFSA at your caisse, with DS (Desjardins Securities) or with DFS (Desjardins Financial Security). The key is not to exceed the overall allowable annual contribution limit applicable to all the accounts held. For more information, see the TFSA beware of overcontributions(PDF, 198 KB) - This link will open in a new window..

The RRSP and the TFSA are complementary plans. The RRSP is mainly used for retirement and the TFSA is ideal for different projects, thanks to its flexible withdrawal rules. You're likely to lean towards one of the 2 options based on your situation. Contact an advisor to find the combination that best suits your needs and savings goals.

For buying a home, consider an RRSP first, because it allows you to participate in the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP). The TFSA, which allows you to withdraw funds without being taxed, is a great option for your down payment. Use them both to get closer to your goal!

Learn more about the HBP

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