How Does TFSA Work In Canada? | Full Step-By-Step Guide

It is not out of place to ponder on ‘how TFSA works in Canada if you intend to relocate. In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know about TFSA in Canada.

Tax deductions can be tasking for both entrepreneurs and salary earners. Before we go on to give you the step-by-step rundown of how TFSA works in Canada, we’ll define TFSA.

Nothing is as fascinating as having a long-term savings account that is tax-free.

What is a TFSA Account?

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a registered investment or savings account that allows for tax-free gains.

They limit the amount of money that can be contributed to a TFSA each year. A TFSA can be used for any savings goal and they can make withdrawals free of tax.

Although it’s referred to as a savings account, it’s not like those savings accounts you probably have.

The Canadian government introduced TFSAs in 2009 to encourage people to save money. Since you paid tax on the money, you put into your TFSA, you won’t have to pay anything when you take money out.

This account is available to individuals ages 18 and older in Canada and for any purpose.

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How Does A TFSA Work in Canada?

It really isn’t that difficult! You open a TFSA, put money in it, and wait to see how much it grows.

On TFSA, you can hold qualified investments like cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and can withdraw contributions as well as the interest, capital gains, and dividends earned in the account at any time, without paying taxes.

The TFSA’s versatility in terms of when you should withdraw your money is one of its best features. Unlike an RRSP, you can withdraw funds at any time without penalty, but there are annual contribution limits set by the government.

Each year, the Canadian government determines the maximum amount a holder of a TFSA can contribute to it in that year. This limit is known as the contribution limit.

The contribution room accumulates every year. If you don’t contribute up to the contribution limit for a given year, this amount is carried forward and is added to your contribution room for future years.

Mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, commodities, and bonds are all examples of assets that can be held in a TFSA. Contributions to a TFSA are not tax-deductible, but the money grows tax-free.

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Advantages and Limitations of a TFSA in Canada


  • The main advantage of a TFSA is that your assets grow tax-free; in other words, neither profits nor growth are taxed.
  • TFSAs are versatile and can be used to save for a variety of financial goals, especially in the short term. You don’t have to pay taxes on withdrawals, unlike an RRSP, and you can re-contribute any withdrawals the next year.
  • Any unused donation room is carried forward to future years if you don’t contribute the full amount required in a year.


  • Since TFSA contributions aren’t tax-deductible, you won’t see a tax gain right away (i.e., a potential tax refund on the contribution).
  • If you take money out of your TFSA, the balance is applied to your unused donation space, but only at the start of the next year. That means you’ll have to wait until the new year to put any withdrawals back into your account.
  • A TFSA spousal plan is not available, but you can give your spouse (or common-law partner) money to invest in their own account without getting the income earned from that money credited back to you.

TFSA Contribution Limits

The TFSA donation cap for 2021 is $6,000 this year. For the year 2021, the lifetime limit is $75,500. If you’ve made some deposits over the years, simply deduct the amount from the lifetime limit to determine your overall donation.

If you’ve taken money out of your TFSA, you can put it back in the year following the withdrawal. The CRA will update its donation limits page as soon as the CRA sets a new limit.

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TFSA Investment Options

As previously mentioned, TFSAs are simply investment baskets into which you can place any type of investment, such as stocks, shares, real estate, or stinky but adorable alpacas.

Your risk tolerance and investment horizon, or when you need to access the capital, are two variables that will determine how you invest. Two cases, in particular, will pique your curiosity.

TFSA Investment Options and Strategy will provide some basic TFSA advice, while How To Buy Stocks, Beginners Guide will provide useful step-by-step stock market investing advice, which will most likely be a large part of where your TFSA dollars go.

TFSA Rules

The TFSA Rules You Need To Know page can answer almost any rule question you may have, but there are two key points to remember:

  • Don’t over-contribute; if you do, you’ll be charged a 1% penalty per month before the excess donation is removed.
  • Understand the contribution rules for your TFSA; if you want to replace the money you withdraw from your TFSA, you’ll have to wait until the next year to receive back the contribution bed.


Although the most commonly addressed aspects of TFSAs are the withdrawal and donation laws, you’ll probably want to prevent any unpleasant surprises come tax season, right? And, though it’s legally a “tax-free” account (it’s in the name! ), you’ll be taxed on the account in certain circumstances.

Interest, dividends, and capital gains gained on TFSA investments are generally tax-free, both when they are in the portfolio and when they are withdrawn.

However, if you meet your annual contribution limit, you’ll have to pay tax on the excess TFSA number. If you go over your contribution cap, you’ll have to pay a 1% penalty on your highest excess TFSA balance for the month.

So, if you over contributed $500 to your TFSA in September 2022 and don’t do anything about it for the rest of the year, you’ll be paying $5 per month for the next four months before the year is over.

If you contribute to a TFSA during a year in which you are a non-resident of Canada, you will be paying a monthly tax of 1% on such donations. If you live outside of Canada for the bulk of the tax year, you are considered a non-resident.

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How To Open A TFSA In Canada

A TFSA may be opened by any Canadian who is 18 years old or older and has a valid social insurance number (SIN). Simply contact a financial institution that provides TFSAs and include your Social Security number and date of birth. They’ll almost certainly ask for supporting evidence, such as a birth certificate, to show you’re who you think you are.

The whole procedure should take no longer than ten minutes. You obviously have a lot of options when it comes to where you can open a TFSA, but try to find one that needs no minimum investment and has low fees.

In conclusion, it is important to note that money can be lost in a TFSA depending on the situation. The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation insures term deposits and cash in savings accounts up to $100,000. (CDIC). The CDIC does not protect investments.

When dealing with investments, there is always the possibility of losing money. The CDIC will cover only the GIC part of a TFSA that includes GICs, stocks, shares, and mutual funds. We hope this has been able to shed more light on TFSA’s for you. 

Final Thoughts

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a registered tax-advantaged savings account that can help you earn money, tax-free. You will also gain access to qualified investments, that may generate interest, capital gains, and dividends, tax-free.


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