If I purchase $50,000 of RRSPs this year, I believe that I can defer some of this purchase over the next several years. I could, for example, claim $16,667 on each of my next three tax returns.

Assume for this question that my income is $58,211. The Federal Personal Income Tax Brackets and Rates for 2011 indicate that I pay approximately 22% federal tax for my income above $41,544, and 15% for my income below that figure.

Purely from the point of view of minimising my federal tax, then, it would seem that it would make the most sense to defer my reporting of my RRSP purchasing over several years. I would be able to reduce my marginal tax rate from 22% to 15% in each of three years.

Can Canadians actually defer reporting of RRSP purchases over several tax returns? If my goal is to reduce the taxes paid, is this the best plan?

2 Answers 2


You can defer RRSP deductions like you've suggested. Here's an article from the CBC about it:


  • 1
    "The experts say she should only deduct enough to get to the start of her current tax bracket." This article perfectly answered my question. Thank you. Jul 13, 2011 at 14:32

You can't defer reporting of the RRSP purchases. The financial institution will report those purchases to CRA, and the CRA expects to see you report those purchases on your return. If they don't match, expect to be audited and to pay penalties. However, you can defer the tax deduction of those purchases until later years.

That means you but you must have the RRSP contribution room available in the year you make the purchase. So if you have $50 000 of contribution room, you can contribute $50 000 all at once and deduct $16 667 in the next 3 years. However, if you only have $20 000 of contribution room, CRA will make your life very unhappy if you contribute $50 000 all at once. In that case, your best bet is to contribute enough to use all your contribution room and repeat each year as you get more contribution room.

Also, you have a $2000 lifetime overcontribution limit. That means whatever contribution room you have, you can contribute $2000 more. But you won't be able to deduct that amount, and you don't get more overcontribution space each year.


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