In this edition of Questions From Clients, Kelley Doerksen, CFP®, CIM® explains how RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plans) work. Learn about some of the key concepts surrounding RESPs such as grants, contributions, and withdrawals.
RESPs are a very effective way to save money for your child’s post-secondary education as you receive grants from the Government when you make contributions to the RESP.
An RESP will provide you with a 20% grant from the Government when you make contributions. You can receive up to $500 a year in grants. However, if you’ve missed some years of making contributions, you can go back and you can receive up to $1000 a year of the current year’s grants and previous year’s missed grants. You can continue to receive grants for your child until your child is 17, so long as you’ve started making contributions prior to their age 16.
When you go to withdraw from an RESP, although there are some rules and regulations, it’s actually fairly simple. When your student starts University or Post-Secondary, so long as they’re in a qualified post-secondary institution, you can begin withdrawals.
The student will need to provide proof of enrolment, and from there, RESP withdrawals can be made. There is no limit to how many dollars of contributions that can be taken out, however in the first year of school, there is a limit to the amount of grants and growth that can be withdrawn during the first 13 weeks of school.
The nice thing about an RESP is that your contributions have already been taxed when you’ve made the contribution initially to the RESP, and you won’t pay any tax on the contributions when they are withdrawn.
The grants and the growth are going to be taxed in the hands of your child. Many students don’t pay tax or pay very minimal tax while they’re students in University; therefore an RESP is a very effective way to income split from your assets to your child and potentially see no tax on the grants and the growth when that withdrawal is made.
To learn more about the terminology and specific rules pertaining to RESP accounts, please watch this video. If you have questions about how to use an RESP, please contact us and we’d be happy to help.