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The deadline for RRSP contributions for the 2021 tax year is March 1, 2022. Apply at CCEC for an RRSP loan by February 18, 2022.

Do you have March 1 marked on your calendar? If you do, then there’s a good chance you’re already on top of your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) contributions for this year. The 1st is the last day you can put money into your RRSP and get a tax deduction against your 2021 earnings. If you haven’t decided whether to contribute this year — or if you haven’t set up a RRSP yet — then the answers to these questions might help with your decision.

How much can I contribute to my RRSP? 

You’re allowed to contribute up to 18% of your income to a maximum amount set annually by the Federal Government. You can carry forward any contribution room from previous years, so be sure to review your notice of assessment from the CRA to find out how much. 

Do I need an RRSP if I have a pension? 

Yes, even if you have a good pension at work, an RRSP can help boost your retirement savings. However, having a pension might reduce the amount you’re allowed to contribute in order to reflect the fact that you’re already saving through your workplace pension. 

What happens when I retire?  

You can continue to contribute to your RRSP up until age 71 at which point you need to wind it up. Many choose to convert their RRSP savings into a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) that allows them to take a monthly retirement income. You can convert your RRSP to a RRIF at any age and the amount you are able to withdraw increases as you get older. Learn more about converting your RRSP to a RRIF here.

Is the money I take out of my RRSP tax free? 

No. You get a tax deduction on money that you contribute, so you are delaying paying income tax. When you withdraw money out of the RRSP during retirement or any other time, that income will be taxed just like any other income you earn. 

What happens if I withdraw from my RRSP early? 

If you withdraw money early from an RRSP, you pay withholding tax and income tax. However, there are exceptions. The Home Buyers’ Plan allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 without paying withholding tax in order to buy your first home. Repayments begin two years after and you have 15 years to pay it all back. The Lifelong Learning Plan lets you withdraw up to $10,000 annually to a maximum of $20,000 to pay for full-time education or training for you or your spouse or common-law partner. You’ll find more information about early withdrawal here
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