On April 21, 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled his first federal budget. The provisions of the budget will be of particular interest to owners of small and medium sized businesses, seniors and families with children. As well, those looking to make certain charitable donations will be encouraged by Oliver’s budget.
Below is a brief commentary on each of the key budget proposals.
For Seniors and Savers
Increase in Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Limit
- Effective January 1, 2015 the annual contribution limit has been increased from $5,500 to $10,000;
- As a consequence, the automatic indexing of the annual contribution limit has been eliminated;
- On April 24, the CRA announced that even though this provision is not law as yet, they will allow increased deposits to a TFSA effective immediately.
by Larry MacDonald for Money Sense Magazine
At the start of the year, the annual contribution limit for Tax-Free Savings Accounts rose by $500, allowing Canadians to shelter $5,500 in investments from tax each year, in addition to whatever RRSP room they may have. The Conservatives plan to go even further—if the federal government balances its books, something expected by 2016, it has promised to raise the TFSA contribution ceiling to $10,000 a year. But left-of-centre policy wonks oppose expanding contribution room. They say TFSAs favour the wealthy and lifetime contributions should be capped. Could they be right?
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Lately, one question clients are asking me is whether they should contribute to a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)? Personally, I really like the TFSA. however it doesn’t have to be an either or choice. Why not do both? If both, in what proportion should you divide your contributions? In order to make an informed decision, let’s quickly review the main features of each program as discussed in last month’s article. I will use bullets to illustrate the features as nothing gets people’s attention more than bullets.
TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNT
- Any Canadian resident age 18 or over may open a TFSA. Contribution is not based on earned income. There is no maximum age for contribution.
- Maximum contribution is $5,000 for each year from 2009 to 2012 and must be made by December 31st of the year of contribution. For 2013, due to indexing the maximum contribution is $5,500.
- There is carry forward room for each year in which the maximum contribution was not made.
- The deposit is not tax deductible, but the funds accumulate with no income tax payable on growth.
- Withdrawals may be made at any time on an income tax free basis. Withdrawals create additional deposit room commencing in the year after withdrawal.
Many of us set New Year’s resolutions for ourselves and often those resolutions have to do with finances. January is the month we say, “Ok, this year I am going to save more and spend less”. This article won’t tell you how to spend less, but it will outline two government sponsored programs available to help you save for retirement or even just a rainy day! Of course these are not the only vehicles you can accumulate money with – those include anything from putting dollars under the mattress to the most sophisticated tax shelter schemes – but these two are the most popular.
Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA)
This is the new kid on the block established by the government as of January 1, 2009. Canadian residents age 18 or older could contribute up to $5,000 into a TFSA. The funds would grow tax free and although there is no tax deduction for the contribution, withdrawals can be made at any time without paying tax. Also, there is no earned income requirement for an individual to contribute. For those years where no contribution is made, it can be made in later years. Any withdrawals can be paid back in addition to current contributions. Be careful not to do this in the same year as the money was withdrawn so as to avoid a tax penalty for over payment. Read more