Using your RRSP for a first time home buyers’ plan (HBP) helps you avoid withdrawal taxes when you are ready to buy or build a house.
The RRSP’s savings, growth and tax advantages make it easier to own a house while saving costs.
However, there are some essential things to know about first time home buyers’ plan with RRSPs so that you can save efficiently and reduce your overall taxes.
This article covers everything you need to know about the first time home buyers’ plan RRSP in Canada.
What is the Home Buyers Plan?
The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a Canadian scheme that enables individuals with registered retirement savings plans to borrow up to 35,000 Canadian dollars from their RRSPs to buy or build a home.
An RRSP is a retirement saving and investment instrument available to Canadian workers and self-employed people.
The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) can be a great source of down payment funding for your home purchase through the first time home buyer plan.
In an RRSP, money is invested pre-tax and grows tax-free until it is withdrawn and taxed at marginal rates.
The Home Buyers’ Plan is available to first-time homebuyers who have signed a formal contract to purchase or build a qualified home for themselves.
Additionally, people with disabilities and those who care for a relative who is disabled qualify for this program.
However, a homebuyer must withdraw no more than $35,000 from the program in a calendar year and must withdraw everything within the year.
Furthermore, the funds must be withdrawn 30 days after the buyer moves into the home. Also, required unpaid repayments are taxed as income at the end of the year.
How RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan Process Works
The home buyers’ plan (HBP) is a program administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that enables qualifying first-time homeowners to make a tax-free withdrawal of up to $35,000 from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).
A homebuyer has 15 years to repay the loan by making deposits into their RRSPs after the second year of the withdrawal, with at least a minimum payment due each year.
Tax is not withheld from withdrawals from an RRSP if the withdrawal amount is under $35,000.
You can benefit from the tax savings associated with RRSP contributions while saving for a down payment on a property. The cash can then be withdrawn tax-free and used to purchase a property.
Also, RRSP funds can be withdrawn from more than one account as long as the same individual owns the accounts.
What is the Eligibility for First Time Home Buyers’ plan (HBP) with RRSP?
Not every RRSP account holder may be eligible for the first time home buyers’ plan (HBP).
To be eligible for the HBP, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be a first-time home purchaser
- Willing to sign an agreement
- Your RRSPs funds must be in your for 90 days before withdrawal.
- Be a resident of Canada
- Willing to make the home your primary home within one year
- You must not have owned a home in the last four years
- All you must withdraw all the requested funds within 30 days of approval
- You must start your loan payment within two years of your approval.
Pros and Cons of the Home Buyers’ Plan
- Using the HBP is like getting a loan without interest
- By accessing HBP funds, you could make your first home buying experience more manageable and less expensive
- Claiming contributions reduces your taxable income
- You use the funds for the down payment on your home
- Prior to you having to repay the loan over a 15-year term, there is a two-year grace period
- Payment of the entire loan is not limited, so you are free to pay it back immediately if you wish
- Repayments must be made yearly
- A period of time in which you withdraw money from your RRSP can result in diminished investment/savings growth
- The withdrawal of funds means that you will not earn interest that might have accrued if the money had been invested
- The HBP must be repaid in full, and contributions to an RRSP to pay it back do not qualify as deductions
- Although the funds you withdraw is not a loan in the ordinary sense, it is nevertheless a personal loan that must be repaid within 15 years
- Home Buyers’ Plans are limited in time, so you’ll need to be very prepared
- You could lose tax-sheltered investment growth due to improper withdrawal.
How to Apply to the Home Buyers’ Plan
To begin the Home Buyers’ Plan application process, you must first download and complete form T1036, headed ‘Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) Request to make a withdrawal from an RRSP.’
Also, Area 1 must be completed by you, while Area 2 is completed by the financial institution that holds your RRSP.
The funds will then be deposited into an account of your choice by your RRSP provider. You will also receive a T4RSP form from the financial institution.
With this slip, you will see the amount of money withheld from your RRSP and use it for your tax return the following year.
How to Withdraw RRSP Funds Under the Home Buyers Plan
Form T1036, Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP) Request to Withdraw Funds From an RRSP, is required to withdraw funds from your RRSPs under the HBP.
Every time you withdraw money, you must complete this form. Give your RRSP issuer the completed Area 1 of Form T1036. Area 2 is completed by the issuer.
A single withdrawal or multiple withdrawals can be made in the same calendar year.
However, you are considered to have withdrawn in the year you received the first withdrawal, even if you received a second withdrawal the following January.
Also, a maximum of $35,000 can be withdrawn from your HBP if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Amounts less than $35,000 in your RRSP will not be subject to tax withholding. For any amount over $35,000.00, you must report it on your income tax and benefit return for that year.
Furthermore, your RRSP issuer will be required to withhold tax on the excess amount at the time of withdrawal.
However, a withdrawal from the Home Buyers Plan is not permitted for contributions made within 90 days of a withdrawal.
Additionally, you must also utilize the funds on your new home within 30 days of taking possession of your new property, so don’t apply too soon.
RRSP Home Buyers Plan Repayment
You will need to repay all the money you take out under the Home Buyers Plan every year. The repayment must begin in the second year of approval.
Overall, all funds withdrawn must be repaid within 15 years, and each participant must repay 1/15th of the amount withdrawn every year.
In addition to the total debt, the CRA will also provide you with a minimum payment due on your HBP account statement.
However, the deduction limit for RRSPs is not impacted by repayments. It is possible to contribute to your RRSPs, PRPPs, or SPPs while on the HBP and designate that amount as a repayment.
Also, you can find the HBP account balance on your Notice of Assessment, as well as in MyAccount.
While you have to make the required minimum payment each year, you may make further repayments to reduce the balance as quickly as possible.
If you repay your HBP balance with contributions, your contribution room is not affected. Your T-1 General Income Tax Return must include Schedule 7 for the repayment.
You cannot claim a tax deduction from your RRSPs when making RRSP contributions to repay the HBP loan.
On Schedule 7, any amount declared as an HBP repayment will be offset against RRSP contribution receipts.
Additionally, make sure you are directing RRSP contributions to the repayment of your HBP loan and not simply regular contributions.
Is Using RRSP for Down Payment a Good Idea?
Making a down payment is one of the most challenging aspects of homeownership.
For houses priced at $520,000 and above, you will need at least a 20% down payment.
However, to assist first-time homebuyers, the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) was developed by the federal government.
A down payment can be made with up to $35,000 tax-free from an RRSP account if one qualifies.
But, couples buying a house jointly can combine their withdrawals and deposit $70,000 toward their new property.
Nevertheless, getting access to retirement funds is not easy, and there are regulations, which means that not everyone qualifies.
Here are things you should know if you intend to use the HBP:
- A homeowner or builder must intend to live in the house for at least a year after purchasing or building
- A person can only withdraw tax-free funds after 90 days in an RRSP account
- Within 30 days of having taken ownership of the property, funds must be withdrawn
- Even though HBP is marketed to first-time buyers, the actual rule is that applicants cannot own a property within the previous four years.
Rules Around Cancelling the Home Buyers Plan
A participant whose RRSP is withdrawn and meets the other HBP requirements cannot cancel their participation.
Certain situations, however, may require you to cancel your participation.
Cancellation of your participation in the HBP is only possible in the following scenarios:
- Before you bought a qualifying home or built a replacement property, you became a non-resident
- No qualifying home or replacement property was purchased or built by you
You can also terminate your participation if you assist a family member with a handicap in purchasing a property, and one of the following scenarios applies:
- Before that individual purchases or constructs a qualified house or replacement property, you become a non-resident.
- No qualifying home or replacement property is purchased or built by the person
How to Report Repayments on Your Income Tax and Benefit Return
Once you have taken your first withdrawal from the HBP, you need to file an income tax and benefit return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Every year, this will be done until you have paid back all your withdrawals as part of your income.
In addition to filing the tax and benefit return, you must also submit the form to the CRA even if you do not owe any taxes or have declared bankruptcy.
To obtain an Income Tax and Benefit Return, complete Schedule 7, Unused Contributions, Transfers, and HBP/LLP Activities, and attach it to your return.
Your total withdrawals and repayments for the year will also be shown on this schedule.
Additionally, you can use the calculation chart to figure out which portions of your contributions, or those of your spouse or common-law partner, are not deductible during any given year.
The CRA may ask you to provide your supporting documents to file your taxes and benefits electronically. Keep all the documentation for six years just in case.
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Final Thoughts on First Time Home Buyer RRSP
Owning your own home is one of the most important investments you will ever make before requirements.
Whether it’s a condo, house, or any other living space, your choice matters because it affects so many aspects of your life.
However, using your RRSP funds to buy a home may be the right decision for you. It could help you to leverage your retirement savings to buy a home without incurring too much debt.
The decision should be well thought out because you will be subject to tax penalties if you withdraw the funds early.
Also, it is essential to know about the many advantages and disadvantages of using your RRSP for the first time home buyers’ plan.
Hopefully, you can now decide if the first time home buyers’ plan is worth your RRSP savings.
FAQs on First Time Home Buyer RRSP
Is RRSP Home Buyers Plan worth it?
RRSP is worth it if you’re looking to withdraw your savings without tax applications. However, not sticking to the rules will attract heavy penalties, which in turn may ruin your savings.
How long does it take to withdraw RRSP for first time home buyer?
You must withdraw the funds within 30 days of approval.
What happens if I don’t pay back my home buyers plan?
You will have to pay taxes on the amount you owe the government if you don’t repay the expected amount.
Can I pay off my home buyers plan early?
Yes. According to the RRSP withdrawal rules, you must begin repayments in the second year following the withdrawal. However, you can choose to pay all at once.