It’s official. The $10,000 TFSA limit is rolling back to $5,500. The change is effective January 1, 2016, so you won’t be affected for 2015.
That means there’s no rush to contribute, says Jamie Golombek, managing director, Tax and Estate Planning with CIBC Wealth Advisory Services. “You’ve got an indefinite amount of time to top up to $10,000,” he explains. “The legislation says the 2015 limit is staying at $10,000, so if you don’t have the money this year, you can top up in 2016” or later. “Remember, the TFSA contribution room carries forward annually automatically.”
If you have the money to contribute, he says, you should put it in as soon as possible. But if not, “there’s no rush anymore, because we have certainty that we’ve locked the $10,000 limit in for 2015. Next year’s limit will go to $5,500, which means if you haven’t done the $10,000 this year, you can do it next year, and you’ll have another $5,500 next year.”
The government has also stated that annual TFSA limit indexing, which was eliminated earlier this year, will return. The TFSA limit will be rounded to the nearest multiple of $500, and if the amount is “equidistant from two such consecutive multiples,” the limit will be rounded to the higher multiple of $500.
Are you mourning the lost $4,500 2016 room? In addition to maximizing RRSPs, Golombek suggests you could put more in RESPs if you have children. “Contribute beyond the $2,500 a year to maximize the Canada Education Savings Grant, since you put up to $50,000 per child in an RESP.”
Other options include paying down high-interest debt and investing in a permanent universal life or whole life insurance policy “to achieve further tax sheltering.”
As of 2016, the cumulative TFSA limit for people eligible to contribute since 2009 will be $46,500.