According to Statista, 21% of people make the New Year’s resolution to focus on financial goals, second only to fitness and health goals. For most individuals, a new calendar year is the start of a new tax year and serves a fresh opportunity to contribute to registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs). As Kelowna tax pros, we at Kerr & Company, want to ensure our clients are making the most of these plans and fulfill their resolutions.
The following is an outline of the contribution limits and deadlines for both RRSPs and TFSAs for the 2018 calendar year:
It’s common for taxpayers to focus on RRSPs this time of year as the last opportunity to contribute to the 2017 tax year is fast approaching. Any RRSP contribution to be claimed on your 2017 tax return must be made on or before Thursday, March 1, 2018.
This deadline is the same for all individuals.
The maximum allowable contribution differs.
To calculate how much a taxpayer can contribute for 2017, one must look at their income from the 2016 tax year. The current year contribution cannot exceed 18% of that 2016 income figure, to a specified maximum.
An individual who earned $65,000 in 2016 has a current contribution limit for 2017 of $11,700 ($65,000 x 18%).
However, all taxpayers are subject to an overall limit of $26,010 regardless of how much income was earned.
Many Canadians do not take advantage of the yearly maximum allowable RRSP contribution. In those cases, the shortfall is carried forward, and they can contribute more the following year. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does a great job of tracking the carryforward and the current year allowable contribution for each taxpayer. Their calculations can be found on page 3 of your Notice of Assessment from the previous year (2016).
Can’t find your Notice of Assessment? Sign up for CRA’s online service, My Account.
Taxpayers can use their online banking ID and password on the CRA site to log into the My Account feature. There, you can access personal tax information, including any allowable RRSP contribution amount.
Lastly, you can call the CRA’s Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS) line at 1-800-267 6999, or to the Individual Income Tax Enquiries Line at 1-800-959-8281, to obtain the same information.
The timelines and deadlines for TFSAs are much more flexible than those governing RRSP contributions. A contribution to a TFSA can be made at any time of the year. Plus, contributions not made during the current year can be carried forward and made in any future year.
Calculating the total TFSA contribution room is significantly more complex than figuring out one’s allowable RRSP contribution amount.
For one, the maximum TFSA amount has changed several times (increasing and decreasing) since the program started in 2009.
Second, individuals who withdraw funds from a TFSA can re-contribute those funds, but not until the year following the one in which the withdrawal is made. When a taxpayer has several TFSA accounts, a history of making contributions, withdrawals, and re-contributions, it can be difficult to determine just where that taxpayer stands concerning their maximum allowable TFSA contribution.
A Notice of Assessment won’t be of help as the CRA no longer provides TFSA contribution information on that form. Information on one’s current year TFSA contribution limit can, however, be obtained from the CRA website, from the TIPS line at 1-800-267-6999 or its Individual Income Tax Enquiries line at 1-800-959- 8281.
Please note, information for your current year TFSA contribution limit won’t be available through the TIPS line until mid-February.
For those who have RRSPs and TFSAs, and want to take full advantage of these plans, please contact us.