Money Management Newsletter: Home
Thinking ahead - First time home buyers can
use RRSP contributions to buy down mortgage debt
Like many Canadians, you may be wondering what you can do to reduce your
annual tax burden. While it may be a little too late to alter the outcome
of your 2004 tax year, you can definitely start arranging your finances
in such a way that you will have more after-tax income in 2005.
Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities for tax savings, which
already exist inside a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)? Some
investors may believe that they cannot, or should not, contribute to an
RRSP because they are planning to purchase a new home. This isn't necessarily
There is a special program available called the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)
that allows eligible first time home buyers to withdraw (borrow) funds
from their RRSPs without any withholding tax deductions or having to include
the amount withdrawn in their income for the year of withdrawal. Properly
timed and planned, it is possible to have your tax cake and eat it, too.
For example, if you have sufficient RRSP contribution room, you could
make a $10,000 contribution to your RRSP in December, receive a generous
tax refund after you file your return, then withdraw that same $10,000
to use as a down payment on your home. Any RRSP funds used for this purpose
must have been in your RRSP for at least 90 days. Also, the most that
you can withdraw from your RRSP under the HBP is $20,000.
Using the RRSP funds to reduce your mortgage amount may yield significant
results by reducing the total mortgage interest that you would otherwise
have to pay. To repay the $10,000 amount noted above on a mortgage with
an amortization of 20 years and a fixed rate of 5% would cost a whopping
$15,399 in interest. It is best to weigh the mortgage interest savings
against the potential tax sheltered growth of your RRSP if the HBP is
not used, as your personal circumstances will influence the long-term
results. Your investment advisor would be happy to run different scenarios
to help you determine which option may be better under your circumstances.
Any funds borrowed from your RRSP will have to be repaid over a 15 year
period. The amount of any missed repayment for a given year will be considered
as taxable income by Canada Revenue Agency for that year and will increase
your corresponding tax liability. So if you plan to borrow from your RRSP
also plan to pay it back.
||Use this link to load a printer-friendly
version of this document.
Have a question regarding
this article? Use our feedback form
to send us a note.
, Fiscal Agents Money Management Newsletter
25 Lakeshore Road, Oakville, On L6J 5B4.