What is a First Home Savings Account (FHSA)?
The FHSA is a specialized savings account, registered with the Canadian government, created to assist Canadian residents with saving for their first home.
This unique savings account allows for contributions to be deducted from income in the year they are made. Any investment income earned within the FHSA (such as interest, dividends, and capital gains), and eligible withdrawals, are not subject to tax, thereby enhancing the account’s overall growth potential.
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Eligibility to open an FHSA
- Canadian residency and a valid Social Insurance Number are required.
- Must be at least the age of majority* and not older than 71.
- Must qualify as a first-time homebuyer, meaning an individual who, in the past four years, have not occupied a home owned by them or their spouse/common-law partner.
Contributions: Making the Most of Your FHSA
You earn participation room of $8,000 per calendar year once the account has been opened. The maximum lifetime contribution is $40,000. Contributions are tax deductible, providing you with a tax benefit. You may deduct the contribution in the year in which they are made or carry forward and deduct in a future year.
Any unused participation room can be carried forward one year at a time. This means that if no contribution is made during a calendar year, you may contribute, and subsequently deduct from your income, up to $16,000 in the following calendar year which consists of your participation from the current year and your carry-forward participation room from the previous year.
- How much contribution room do I have? The best place to find this information is on your Canada Revenue Agency MyAccount portal. It will be located under “Savings and Pension Plans”. You may also find this information on your latest Notice of Assessment, Notice of Reassessment or by contacting the Canada Revenue Agency.
- Overcontributed? Be careful not to exceed your participation room as any overcontribution will incur a penalty.
- Deadline to contribute? You can make a contribution anytime before December 31st to count for that calendar year.
You may also transfer funds from your RRSP into your FHSA using form RC720. However, these contributions are not tax-deductible.
Withdrawing Funds: Nest Egg to Nest
- Purchase your first home:
- Qualifying withdrawals from the FHSA to purchase a first home are tax-free, meaning they are not included in income when withdrawn from the account.
- Complete form RC725 and provide written agreement to buy or build home
Generally, your FHSA account can stay open for up to 15 years. If you do not make a qualifying withdraw during the 15 year timeframe, below are other ways to close your FHSA.
- Transfer to another account:
- You can transfer funds from your FHSA into an RRSP/RRIF. The amounts are not taxed during the transfer and do not affect remaining RRSP contribution room. However, standard RRSP/RRIF withdrawal taxes apply thereafter.
- Complete form RC721
- Taxable withdrawals:
- If you do not withdraw for a first-time home purchase or transfer to an RRSP/RRIF, the amounts are treated as taxable income for the year.
For more information, you can head to the Government of Canada website.
Need even more info? Contact us at 1-800-667-0716 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to answer all your questions.
* The age of majority is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. If you’re in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, or Yukon, you’ll need to be 19 years old.