Canadian Tax and
Financial Information
In Kind RRSP and RRIF Withdrawals

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RRSPs RRIFs and TFSAs -> In kind withdrawals

Making "In Kind" Withdrawals From an RRSP or a RRIF

An "in kind" withdrawal can be made from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), or from a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), which would include LIFs and LRIFs, since they are considered to be RRIFs under the Income Tax Act.  A withdrawal of investments can be transferred to a non-registered account, or they could be transferred to a tax-free savings account (TFSA), subject to the amount of contribution room available.  The TFSA or non-registered account would have to be in the same account holder name as the RRIF or RRSP in order to do the transfer.  A transfer to the TFSA of a spouse would have to first have the withdrawn investments going to a joint non-registered account.  From there the investments could be transferred in kind to the TFSA of the spouse.

When an in kind withdrawal is done, you may have some leeway in determining the exact amount recorded for the withdrawal.  If you request the withdrawal at the end of a trading day, you can choose a price for the investment, ranging from the lowest price at which the investment traded to the highest price traded during the day.  If the investment is traded on a US stock exchange, an exchange rate must be applied to convert the transaction to Canadian dollars.  The exchange rate will be the rate that the brokerage would have applied if you had sold the stock.

The amount recorded for the withdrawal (excluding the amount of any applicable withholding taxes) will be the cost basis of the stock, to be used for determining the capital gain or loss on disposal when the stock is sold at some time in the future.

RRSP in Kind Withdrawals

When an in kind withdrawal is made from an RRSP, the RRSP lump sum withholding tax rates apply.  For example, if you want to withdraw $15,000, in any province besides Quebec, the tax amount will be 20% x $15,000, or $3,000.  The net amount of the withdrawal after tax is $12,000.  This means you would be able to transfer out investments with a current market value of $12,000.  If you request a transfer of investments of more than $12,000, the total including tax increases to more than $15,000.  This would result in a withholding tax rate increase to 30%.  The total amount of the withdrawal, which includes the amount of the withholding tax (a total of $15,000 in the above example), will be included in the taxpayer's taxable income for the year.  The cost basis of the stock withdrawn will be $12,000, the market value at the time of withdrawal.

In order to do the transfer out of investments, your RRSP must have sufficient cash to pay the withholding tax.  You may have to sell some investments in order to have the cash on hand.  The sale of investments usually takes 3 days to settle, after which you can do your "in kind" withdrawal.

RRIF in Kind Withdrawals

No tax is withheld when the minimum amount is withdrawn from a registered retirement income fund RRIF.  When withdrawals in excess of the minimum amount are made, the RRSP lump sum withholding tax rates apply.

Because no cash is needed to pay tax from the RRIF when the minimum amount is withdrawn, it is not necessary to sell any investments before making the withdrawal.  If an in kind withdrawal exceeds the minimum withdrawal amount, there will be withholding tax deducted based on the excess over the minimum, so there must be cash available in the RRIF to pay this tax.

The withdrawal from the RRIF is included in the taxpayer's taxable income, so depending on the individual's circumstances, tax may be payable when the tax return is filed.

The Minister of Finance issued a press release on November 20, 2008 indicating that he was expecting all financial institutions to accommodate in kind transfers from a RRIF, at no cost to clients, or offer another solution that achieved the same result.

Revised: November 16, 2017


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