Tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) are designed to help Canadians save more.

9 things to know about TFSAs

  1. TFSAs are available to Canadians age 18+.
  2. The annual contribution limit is indexed for inflation.
  3. You can save tax-free for any goal you want (car, home, vacation).
  4. You don’t need earned income to contribute.
  5. You don’t have to set up a TFSA or file a tax return to earn contribution room.
  6. You can take money out when you want, for any reason, without paying any tax.
  7. If you take money out, you can re-contribute it the following year, in addition to the annual maximum.
  8. You can hold a wide range of investments in a TFSA, like cash, GIC’S, Bonds, stocks and mutual funds.
  9. You can put money into your spouse’s or common-law partner’s account.

Contribution limits by year

TFSA contribution room is indexed for inflation and annual limits vary by year. If you don’t contribute the full amount each year, you can carry forward the unused amounts, based on the contribution limits for each year. Here are the annual contribution limits for each year since 2009:

Year Contribution
2009 $5,000
2010 $5,000
2011 $5,000
2012 $5,000
2013 $5,500
2014 $5,500
2015 $10,000
2016 $5,500
2017 $5,500
2018 $5,500

You can put money in at any time, up to set limits. You can take money out at any time, without paying any tax.

Making transfers between TFSAs

If you have more than one TFSA, you can transfer funds between them. It won’t affect your TFSA contribution room — as long as the transfer is done directly between the TFSAs. Speak to your financial institution or investment firm to find out how to do this.

If you withdraw money yourself from one TFSA and contribute that amount to another TFSA, it will be considered a separate contribution – not a transfer. That contribution will reduce, and may even exceed, your TFSA contribution room for the year. If you over-contribute you’ll pay a penalty.

Penalties for breaking the rules

  • Over-contributions – If you contribute too much to your TFSA, you’ll pay a penalty of 1% per month on the excess amount until you remove it. If you over-contribute deliberately, you’ll pay a 100% tax on any gains or income you make on the excess amount.
  • Prohibited and non-qualified investments – Any gains or income you make from holding these investments in your TFSA will be taxed at 100%. Example: shares of a company in which you have a significant interest (10% or more).
  • Asset transfer transactions – You’ll pay 100% tax on any gains made by swapping investments between your TFSA and a registered or a non-registered account. This is to discourage people from using their TFSA to realize gains on investments that would otherwise be subject to tax. Example: you swap cash in your TFSA for an investment from your RRSP.

TFSA – Tax-free savings account

Take advantage of tax-free growth when you open a tax-free savings account.

A tax-free haven, Canada’s unique tax-free savings account is a gift to investors. On top of that, Questrade’s tax-free savings account comes with no annual fees, keeping even more money in your pocket

What is a tax-free savings account?

A TFSA is a registered account that allows you to earn capital gains and dividends tax-free. Your contributions are not tax-deductible, but you won’t be taxed or penalized for any gains – even when you withdraw them.

It’s your money. Keep it that way.

Don’t settle for measly interest rates. Invest your money, and give your money a real chance to grow.

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Talk to us about your TFSA Investments!