C'est quoi un compte d'épargne libre d'impôt (CELI)?

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Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman écrit depuis 20 ans et fait des placements depuis 10 ans. Il écrit présentement sur les finances personnelles et l’investissement pour Wealthsimple. Auparavant, certains de ses articles ont été publiés dans The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine et Wired. Il a également fait des apparitions à la télévision, notamment dans le Today show, sur les ondes de NBC, ainsi qu’à Fox News. Andrew possède un baccalauréat en arts (Anglais) de l’Université du Texas. Il vit à Westport, au Connecticut, avec son épouse, Robin, leur deux garçons et un Bedlington terrier. Dans ses temps libres, il anime le podcast The Originals.

On pourrait comparer le compte d'épargne libre d'impôt (CELI) à un panier. Vous pouvez choisir ce que vous placez dans le panier parmi une multitude de produits financiers – fonds négociés en bourse, certificats de placement garanti, actions, obligations et (véritables) comptes d’épargne. Et les gains réalisés grâce aux investissements dans ce panier, quels qu'ils soient, sont à l’abri de l’impôt. Le gouvernement canadien a créé les CELI en 2009 pour encourager la population à épargner de l’argent en vue de la retraite. Puisque l’argent qui y est placé a déjà été imposé, vous n’avez pas à repayer d’impôt lorsque vous l’en retirez.

Il y a bien sûr un montant d’argent limite que l’on peut mettre dans un CELI. Si le passé est garant de l'avenir, cette limite augmentera un peu chaque année. En ce moment, on peut y déposer un maximum de 5 500 $ par an. Tout le monde y a droit dès 18 ans.

Il faudrait être fou pour ne pas profiter du CELI.

Le premier avantage, le nom le dit: les gains sont libres d’impôt. Si les 1 000 $ placés aujourd’hui devenaient 10 000 $ au moment de votre retraite, les 9 000 $ que vous auriez faits ne seraient pas imposés.

Ensuite, contrairement au régime enregistré d’épargne-retraite (REER), le CELI permet de retirer de l’argent rapidement et facilement, et ce, sans pénalité. De plus, ce montant sera ajouté à votre limite de contribution l’année suivante. Par exemple, si vous retirez 5 000 $, l’an prochain, vous pourrez déposer jusqu’à la limite annuelle de 5 500 $, plus 5 000 $.

Il y a un autre avantage pour les gens à la retraite. L’argent provenant d’un CELI n’est pas considéré comme un revenu, donc les retraités peuvent en profiter sans que ça n’influence leurs prestations de retraite, telles les prestations gouvernementales de Sécurité de la vieillesse, qui diminuent si les revenus sont plus élevés.

Puisque l’on peut ouvrir autant de CELI qu’on le désire et qu’il est si simple d’y placer de l’argent, on perd rapidement de vue le montant déposé depuis le début de l’année. Si, par mégarde, vous dépassez la limite permise, vous paierez une pénalité de 1 % par mois sur le montant en excès. Et oubliez la spéculation sur séance dans votre CELI, à moins que vous ne vouliez vous attirer les foudres de l’Agence du revenu du Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to open and start contributing to a TFSA, you need to have a valid SIN and be at least 18 years old and a resident of Canada. As the account holder, you’ll be the only one who can make contributions, withdrawals, and determine how the funds will be invested.

Yes. Contribution limits refer to the maximum amount you can contribute to your TFSA each year, and contribution room automatically accumulates every year. You can also withdraw from your TFSA anytime you like, but remember that whatever amount you withdraw will not be added back to your annual contribution room until the next calendar year. Unused contribution room also carries over into the next year. Unlike RRSPs, you can’t deduct the amount you contributed from your income in your taxes.

The sum of this year’s contribution limit and any past contribution room you have not used. For 2022, the annual TFSA contribution room is $6,000. But your own individual contribution room is determined by that number, any unused TFSA contribution room from the previous year, and any withdrawals made from the TFSA in the previous year.

You can’t. TFSA contributions are not tax deductible like RRSP contributions and you can’t claim them on income tax returns. That’s because the TFSA contributions, interest and returns gained, and withdrawals are already exempt from taxation. The benefit of a TFSA is not that you can deduct contributions in your tax return but rather that the earnings in your TFSA can grow tax-free.

Sure! There’s nothing stopping you, but we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. The money will grow tax-free and withdrawals are free. The only thing you need to keep in mind is the contribution limit. If you withdraw from the account, you won’t be able to add the withdrawn funds back into your TFSA again until next year.

As long as you’re able to stay within the contribution limits, there’s no reason why a TFSA can’t hold your emergency fund. However, TFSAs are usually used in conjunction with RRSPs to create a retirement fund or to save for another big purchase down the line.

Words to the wise: it’s probably best to keep emergency funds in cash savings rather than in investments, since you want to be able to access your money whenever you need it and not face the possibility of withdrawing during a market dip. You could consider putting your emergency fund in a savings account and use your TFSA for longer-term savings goals.

You absolutely can! The same logic as above regarding the emergency fund applies here as well; however., when you withdraw the money, you won’t be able to contribute it again until the following year. If you want to take a vacation in the near future, cash savings might be a better option to avoid market swings. If you’re saving for the vacation of a lifetime in 10 years time, then you could consider investing the money instead, depending on your circumstances.

TFSAs can hold U.S. stocks, but you’ll need to keep an eye out for taxes. American taxes dividends on U.S. stocks held in TFSAs. There’s a 30% withholding tax on any U.S. stock dividend, only half of which can be claimed as a deduction on your tax returns. So effectively, you’ll be paying a 15% tax on dividends.

As long as you have an emergency fund in place elsewhere, go for it. If you can afford to do so, filling up all of your available contribution space can really help you take advantage of a TFSA’s tax benefits. Just make sure you’re keeping a very close eye on your contribution room and making sure you don’t over-contribute in the same calendar year if you withdraw and then plan to re-deposit funds.

Yes. The assets in your TFSA are like any other investment, and they can lose value over time. You can actually lose contribution room too. If you withdraw all your money from a TFSA and the account value is less than your total contribution room was, the next year, you don't regain all your contribution room, just an amount equivalent to the value of the withdrawal.

You can open as many TFSA accounts as you like, but your contribution space remains the same. That means that if you have $6,000 of contribution room for the year, you can make only $6,000 worth of contributions across your collection of TFSAs, whether you have one or five. Multiple TFSAs can be useful to some people, but they can also make it harder to keep track of contributions.

No, TFSAs can’t be joint. You are the sole holder of your TFSA account. That’s because everyone has their own individual contribution limit, and this cannot be combined with anyone else. You are, however, able to designate successor holders and beneficiaries to your TFSA.

Yes, the assets within a TFSA can be used as collateral against a loan. A TFSA can, for example, be used to secure a mortgage, although this may come with the stipulation that you can’t withdraw funds from the TFSA until the loan has been paid off.

Wow, good for you! Sounds like you’ve been a busy saver. If you stocked up your emergency fund as well, it’s time to start diversifying your investments further, if you haven’t done so already. A personal investing account, for example, can help you explore other investment opportunities once your retirement savings are in a good place.

Building up a solid emergency fund with the help of a high-interest savings or chequing account is also a key component of financial health. And if you have children, a Registered Education Savings Plan is a great way to start building up a strong financial foundation for them.

Dernière mise à jour 9 mai 2022

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