This is the third and final part in our series on RDSP accounts or Registered Disability Savings Plans.
Today we are discussing taxation of RDSPs.
The first thing to note is that RDSP accounts are a tax-sheltered account. And that means that the assets within the account can grow without needing to pay tax on the growth of the investments until such time as withdrawals are made on the account.
Another thing to note about the withdrawals is that not all of the dollars that you withdraw from an RDSP are taxable.
Contributions made to the RDSP account won’t be taxed as they have already been tax paid dollars that are going into the account. It will just be the grants and the growth and any bonds that are paid into the account which would be taxed on withdrawal.
Another piece of information about RDSP taxation is that the assets in an RDSP are sheltered from provincial assistance programs. Most programs have an asset limit with which a person eligible for Disability Tax Credit can accumulate assets. And in Alberta, AISH does not allow individuals to hold assets greater than $100,000 currently, however RDSP dollars do not count towards that $100,000 limit.
RDSPs are taxed when withdrawn, but again the taxation is only going to be occurring on grants, growth and bonds. And when those withdrawals are made, the withdrawals do not affect federal income-tested benefits such as guaranteed income supplement or old age security.
When withdrawals are made from the RDSP account, the withdrawals are going to be a proportionate representation of contributions, grants, bonds, and income in the account; and so you will be taxed accordingly on those withdrawals.
Withdrawals made within 10 years of the most recent grant or bond, should be avoided whenever possible because they will trigger a claw back of a proportionate amount of the grant and bond.
You may also be wondering what occurs on the death of the beneficiary of the RDSP account. If a grant or bond has been paid into the account within 10 years at death, those grants and bonds would need to be repaid to the government. But if 10 years has elapsed since the last grant or bond has been paid, the proceeds of the RDSP account in full would form part of the beneficiary’s estate.
If the beneficiary of the RDSP does have testamentary capacity, it is recommended that a will is drawn up so that the proceeds of those assets in the RDSP and others can be distributed according to the terms of the will.
And it is also important to know that an RDSP does not replace a disability trust for the beneficiary.
If there is an inheritance contemplated for your family member that has access to the Disability Tax Credit, there can be some trust planning done around any inheritance that you may desire to provide to that beneficiary. And it is important that you speak to a lawyer when contemplating that as part of your own estate planning objectives.
RDSPs can be complex vehicles, but so valuable and important to your family and to the financial future of the beneficiary of that plan. If you have any questions, please reach out to us and we’re happy to discuss.