User Photo
895 Don Mills Road
Suite 202
Toronto, ON M3C 1W3
Cell: 416-708-0556
Fax: 416-391-0310
Work Phone: 416-391-3232
Email Michelle

Borrowing From your RRSP for Your Downpayment

First Time Home Buyer? Don't forget about the RRSP Home Buyers' Plan. It can be all or part of your down payment. The rules have changed in recent years, so if you think you know them, double check here!

What is the Home Buyers'Plan

The Home Buyers' Plan ("HBP") is a federally instituted government program designed to assist "qualified" buyers in the purchase of a new home. Until 1999, the program was available only once and you had to buy or build the qualifying home for yourself, however, the rules have changed. In order to qualify you have to complete Form T1036 which is available at your tax services office.

Keep reading to learn more!! And remember, whether you have RRSP savings or no RRSP savings, the HBP can be applied to you!!

Who can participate in the HBP? and How many times?

You can participate in the HBP more than once in your lifetime if:
  • your HBP balance for your previous participation is fully repaid at the beginning of the year you want your participation in the HBP to occur; and
  • you met all the other HBP conditions that apply to your situation.

If you are disabled you may be able to participate in the Home Buyers' Plan to buy or build a more accessible home. You may also be able to participate in the HBP for someone else if:
  • you acquire a home under the HBP for a related disabled person that is more accessable to or better suited to the needs of that person; or
  • you withdraw funds from your RRSP under the HBP and provide those funds to a related disabled person that is more accessable to or better suited to the needs of that person.
How does it work? - No penalties

Under the "HBP", Revenue Canada permits you to use your RRSP funds towards the purchase of a new home. The default insurance companies support this program (when your down payment is less than 25%) in allotting the RRSP funds as a source of down payment.
  1. No penalty for withdrawal
There are no negative effects from removing funds from the RRSP - in short, individuals are able to withdraw monies from their fund without penalty:
  • No tax is owed on the monies withdrawn
  • No interest is paid on the monies while it is outside of your RRSP
  • There is no monitoring of the monies while outside your Plan (see Tax Management below)

B. Subject to restrictions

Regardless of no penalties for withdrawing funds, there a re certain guidelines that must be followed in order to remain protected under the HBP' umbrella:
  • There is a maximum of $20,000 that can be withdrawn from one individual's RRSP.
  • There can be a maximum of two first-time buyers in the purchase of a new home, and each individual can withdraw up to $20,000 for a total of $40,000.
  • The purchased home must be owner occupied.
The RRSP must be repaid within 15 years with minimum annual payments of 1/15th of the withdrawn amount - failure to do so will result in 1/15th of the RRSP initially withdrawn having to be added back to taxable income in any year the minimum re-deposit is not made.
** NB. You are not considered to be a first time homebuyer if, at any time during the period beginning January 1 of the fourth year before the year of withdrawal and ending 31 days before your withdrawal, you or your spouse owned a home that you occupied as your principal place of residence.

Benefits from using the Home Buyers' Plan.

The utilization of your RRSP's within the guidelines of the HBP results in benefits that are quantifiable immediately and extend over the long-term:
  • Increased down payment
  • Decreased principal owing
  • Avoidance of substantial interest costs over that accrue over long periods
Establishing an RRSP with borrowed funds for a tax refund.

The "HBP" permits an individual to establish an RRSP with borrowed funds, and then use the resultant tax refund for a down payment. In this scenario:
  1. The individual borrows funds that are contributed to an RRSP.
  2. After a 90-day period, the RRSP is collapsed to repay the loan.
  3. The client receives a tax refund that can be applied to the purchase of a home.
These funds re considered as an acceptable source of down payment provided that:
  1. The tax refund is in the individual's hands at the time of closing.
  2. The lender can verify that the borrower has proven liquidable assets equal to a minimum equity of 5% of the purchase price.
Managing Tax Refunds

The government does not monitor the funds that are withdrawn from RRSP's for the purposes of the HBP. Therefore, providing that an individual has qualified as a buyer and has purchased a qualifying home, they may do whatever they desire with the money. Furthermore, the income tax refund received may be used in whatever manner decided, such as:
  • Clearing the balance on credit cards
  • Reducing, or retiring, personal loans
  • Making lump sum payments on a mortgage
  • Purchasing household necessities - appliances, furniture, accessories etc
  • Increasing the down payment to reduce/avoid default insurance premiums
  • Paying for legal fees and or tax adjustments
The more debt you are able to pay off, the less in monthly expense obligations you will have. This will ultimately put you in a much better financial position.

What else should you know?

The Home Buyers' Plan enables you to borrow money to top up your RRSP plan using accumulated RRSP eligibility limits. If your tax assessment notice indicates you are eligible for $18,000 in contributions in the current year, and you already have $4,000 in a self-directed plan, you are allowed to borrow - subject to credit approval - the $16,000 to buy the RRSP required to bring you up to the $20,000 Home Buyers' Plan limit.

Then you can claim the eligible deduction against your current year's income in order to get a large tax rebate. You can use the rebate to pay down the loan or apply it to the cost of buying the home. Here, of course, the amount of tax you're paying each year is an important factor. If the $16,000 deduction in this example results in a $5,000 tax rebate, it can be used as you see fit. If, on the other hand two partners each earning $80,000 per year take their maximum RRSP of $20,000 each in the current year, they could net a total of $15,000 or more in a tax rebate.

You are then allowed to withdraw up to the $20,000 maximum from the RRSP 90 days after topping up or creating the plan, subject to the re-deposit requirements described above.

Be Careful - If you're planning to borrow the money for the maximum RRSP, you could end up disqualifying yourself for a mortgage because your monthly payments will be too high. Your "total debt servicing ratio" - the proportion of your gross income required to service both the home related costs and other monthly obligations - may exceed the usually acceptable monthly maximum of 42%. Another $600 per month could well make the difference in whether or not you'll qualify for a mortgage.
Courtesy: Canadian Mortgages