Major 2008 Federal and Provincial Changes Affecting Individuals

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA):

The 2008 federal budget introduced a new Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) which, beginning in 2009, will allow Canadians who are 18 and older to save up to $5,000 per year in the TFSA investment vehicle. Unlike a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), investors will not be able to deduct contributions to a TFSA for tax purposes; however, investment income, including capital gains earned within the TFSA will not be subject to tax, even when the funds are ultimately withdrawn.

Increase in RESP Time Limits:

The 2008 federal budget increased by 10 years the time available for contributors, such as a parent or grandparent, to contribute to a registered education savings plans (RESP) for their child or grandchild. Contributors may now deposit into an RESP plan for a maximum of 31 years–35 years for a taxpayer who is disabled, up from 21 and 25 years respectively.

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP):

The 2007 federal budget introduced a new Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), which is designed to provide savings for the long-term financial security of a child or adult with a disability who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). This plan is expected to be available by the end of 2008.

As with an RESP, earnings generated on contributions are tax exempt while they remain in the plan. Contributions are not tax deductible, nor are they included in income when paid out. All other amounts paid out of the plan are included in the beneficiary’s income.

Land Transfer Tax Refund Program: 

The province of Ontario’s December 2007 Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, or minibudget, expanded the provisions of Ontario’s existing land transfer tax refund available to first-time purchasers of newly constructed homes to include first time homebuyers of resale homes as well. Effective December 14, 2007, first time purchasers of both types of homes were eligible for a provincial refund on up to $2,000 of the land transfer tax paid for their new home.

Increase in Small Business Deduction Threshold:

The 2007 mini-budget in December 2007 increased Ontario’s small business deduction-threshold rate from $400,000 to $500,000, retroactive to January 1, 2007. This is the amount of active business income that Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC) are able to earn at a preferential tax rate.