FAQ – Savings and investment – TFSAs

Individuals can find their TFSA contribution room details in the My Account section of Revenue Canada's website and on their previous year's assessment notice. However, assessment notices are normally available some weeks after the annual tax return is filed, between March and June. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to manage your contributions carefully, as contributions made at the beginning of the year will not appear on your assessment notice.

The advantage of TFSAs and RRSPs is that they allow you to save money tax-free. Also, the 2 plans complement each other because they meet different types of needs.

RRSPs are designed to help you save for retirement.

Non-taxable withdrawals make TFSAs a good tool to help you save for projects: buying a car, renovating your home, starting a business or taking a trip.

You’re likely to lean towards one of the 2 options based on your situation. For example:

  • Depending on your income, TFSAs may be better than RRSPs to save for retirement.
  • When buying your first home, using your RRSP towards your down payment via the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) can be a great strategy.

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.

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..

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. The selection of investment products in TFSAs is similar to RRSPs. Desjardins offers you a complete range of TFSA investment products, such as: the TFSA savings account, market linked guaranteed investments, fixed rate investments, investment funds, stocks and other securities, as well as the Helios2 Contract guaranteed investment fund. More information on each investment product is available on the TFSA-eligible investment products section of the Desjardins website.

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.

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