How to take advantage of your TFSA room
In November 2022, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that the TFSA annual contribution limit would rise to $6,500 for 2023.
If you have never contributed to a TFSA, and you were at least 18 years old in 2009, then as of 2023 you will have accumulated $88,000 of TFSA contribution room.
Whether you are retired or nearing retirement, early or mid-career, married or single, a TFSA should probably have a place in your financial roadmap. Read all the details about how TFSAs work – from TFSA withdrawals and tax treatment, to contribution carry forward room – in TFSA Basics.
Here are a couple of tips for taking advantage of your contribution room:
1. Make an in-kind contribution
If you have investments in a non-registered account, may want to consider shifting some of those assets to a TFSA, to take advantage of tax-free earnings.
You can contribute securities (stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, etc.) that you hold in a non-registered account to your TFSA without having to sell the securities. However, you will be deemed to have disposed of those assets at their fair market value and there may be tax consequences. For example, if there is an unrealized capital gain on an asset being transferred, that gain will be taxable at the time of transfer. If there is an unrealized capital loss, that loss cannot be used to offset capital gains.
2. Help your spouse build their TFSA
A higher-earning spouse or common-law partner can give money to a lower-earning or stay-at-home spouse to contribute to his or her TFSA, up to the spouse's available contribution limit. The money will not be subject to the CRA's income attribution rules. Each spouse owns his or her individual TFSA, along with any income and capital gains generated within the account.
How to check your TFSA contribution room
You can find your TFSA balance as of January 1 of the current year by logging in to your online "My Account" on the CRA website, or by phoning CRA's Tax Information Phone Service at 1.800.267.6999. Check after mid-February, to allow time for your financial institution to report all your TFSA transactions from the previous year.
Investment choices in your TFSA
The choice of investments is a key benefit of the TFSA. The types of investments that are generally eligible for a TFSA are the same as those permitted in a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), including:
- Stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Mutual funds
- Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
Wondering if you can hold U.S. stocks in your TFSA? Yes, you can. As long as the stock (or ETF) is listed on what the CRA calls a designated stock exchange [link to CRA page on designated exchanges]. In fact, you can hold stocks or ETFs listed on several European, Asian and other world exchanges.
For more information about qualified investments, visit the TFSA section of the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Open a Qtrade Direct Investing TFSA account today – and if you transfer assets from another institution to your Qtrade account, we will cover your transfer-out fees up to $150. For terms and conditions of that offer, or for help with your transfer, visit our Account Transfer page.