2017-0732391E5 Income on TFSA over-contributions

Please note that the following document, although believed to be correct at the time of issue, may not represent the current position of the CRA. Prenez note que ce document, bien qu'exact au moment émis, peut ne pas représenter la position actuelle de l'ARC.

Principal Issues: Whether income earned on a TFSA over-contribution that is not a “deliberate over-contribution” must be withdrawn from the TFSA?

Position: No, unless the Minister agrees to waive the 1% over-contribution tax.

Reasons: The Act does not impose any other tax consequences on regular TFSA over-contributions beyond the 1% over-contribution tax. However, as a condition for the Minister to grant a waiver of the tax, any associated income or capital gains must be withdrawn and included in income.

Author: Podor, Karina

Section: 207.01(1) definitions of “advantage”, “deliberate over-contribution”, “excess TFSA amount”; 207.02; 207.06(1); 207.061

XXXXXXXXXX                                                                                                                                  2017-073239
                                                                                                                                                          K. Podor
June 25, 2019

Dear XXXXXXXXXX:

Re:   Income on Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) over-contributions

This is in reply to your correspondence of December 11, 2017 in which you ask whether investment earnings on a TFSA over-contribution that is not a “deliberate over‑contribution” must be withdrawn from the TFSA. We apologize for the delay in our response.

Our comments

This technical interpretation provides general comments about the provisions of Income Tax Act and related legislation (where referenced).  It does not confirm the income tax treatment of a particular situation involving a specific taxpayer but is intended to assist you in making that determination.  The income tax treatment of particular transactions proposed by a specific taxpayer will only be confirmed by this Directorate in the context of an advance income tax ruling request submitted in the manner set out in Information Circular IC 70-6R9, Advance Income Tax Rulings and Technical Interpretations.

Section 207.02 (footnote 1) provides that an individual who makes a contribution to a TFSA that exceeds their contribution limit is subject to a 1% tax on the excess. The tax is calculated monthly, based on the individual’s highest “excess TFSA amount” for that month, as defined in subsection 207.01(1). The 1% tax continues to apply for each month that the excess TFSA amount remains. The individual may take action to correct an over‑contribution and minimize the tax by making one or more withdrawals from their TFSA to reduce or eliminate the excess TFSA amount. New TFSA contribution room that becomes available each year will also serve to reduce an excess TFSA amount. There is no requirement to remove any income or capital gains that are attributable to an excess TFSA amount, except in two situations.

The first situation is where the Minister agrees to waive or cancel the 1% tax pursuant to subsection 207.06(1). As a condition for the Minister to grant the waiver, the individual must withdraw from their TFSA an amount sufficient to eliminate the excess TFSA amount, together with any associated income and capital gains. The portion of the withdrawal relating to the investment earnings is included in the individual’s income under Part I in accordance with paragraph 12(1)(z.5) and section 207.061.

The second situation is where the over-contribution is determined to be a “deliberate over-contribution”, as defined in subsection 207.01(1). A deliberate over-contribution refers to a contribution intentionally made by an individual in excess of their TFSA contribution limit, generally with a view to generating a rate of return sufficient to outweigh the cost of the 1% tax. Any income or capital gains reasonably attributable, directly or indirectly, to a deliberate over-contribution constitute an “advantage” and are subject to a 100% tax under section 207.05 in the hands of the individual. The advantage tax continues to apply until the individual withdraws the deliberate over-contribution and the associated investment earnings from their TFSA. Whether an over-contribution is a deliberate over-contribution is a question of fact that can only be determined by a detailed review of the facts. However, the CRA closely examines any unusual TFSA transactions and will challenge aggressive tax planning where appropriate.

Additional information on the reporting and filing requirements for an individual liable for tax in connection with TFSA over-contributions is provided in Guide RC4466, Tax‑Free Savings Account (TFSA), Guide for Individuals.

We trust our comments will be of assistance.

Yours truly,

 

Dave Wurtele
Section Manager
for Division Director
Financial Industries and Trusts Division
Income Tax Rulings Directorate
Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch

FOOTNOTES

Note to reader:  Because of our system requirements, the footnotes contained in the original document are shown below instead:

1  Unless as otherwise stated, all legislative references in this document are to the Income Tax Act.

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