FAQ – Savings and investment – TFSAs

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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

The 2021 TFSA contribution limit is $6,000, plus the amount of withdrawals you made in 2020 and your unused contribution room from previous years:

  • 2009 to 2012: $5,000
  • 2013 and 2014: $5,500
  • 2015: $10,000
  • 2016 to 2018: $5,500
  • 2019 to 2021: $6,000

If you’ve never contributed to a TFSA and you’ve been eligible since 2009, your unused contribution room for 2021 will be $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.

Any excess contributions are subject to a penalty tax of 1% per month that applies as soon as you go over your contribution limit. It continues to apply every month, as long as the excess amount is still in your TFSA.

You can fix your overcontribution quickly by withdrawing the excess TFSA amount. The penalty tax stops when your contribution limit has absorbed the excess.

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. Since TFSA investment income and withdrawals are tax-free, your TFSA is an affordable way to maximize your savings to buy a home.

If you're planning to buy your first home, a smart move would be to withdraw funds you’ve accumulated in your TFSA and contribute them to an RRSP when your income is higher. The RRSP contribution will reduce your income taxes, and you’ll be able to use this money to make a down payment through the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). Remember that contributions must stay in your RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them for the HBP.

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

Anyone 18 or over with a valid social insurance number can open a TFSA and contribute to it.

No. While RRSPs have a contribution age limit, TFSAs do not.

If you earn BONUSDOLLARS® on your Desjardins credit card, you can use them to contribute to your TFSA.

Learn more about BONUSDOLLARS

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