Families

Save on Going Back to School Using the Lifelong Learning Plan

If you are considering going back to school, you can withdraw money from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan to help cover your tuition and other school-related expenses. Before you take out the money, it is important to understand the rules of the Lifelong Learning Plan. Make sure you follow the rules to the letter, or else any withdrawals are added back as taxable income.

Can You Participate in the LLP?

You must meet the all of the following conditions to qualify for the LLP:

  • You must have an RRSP to withdraw money from.
  • You must be a student who is enrolling in a full-time college or university program.
  • You must be a resident of Canada.
  • You must withdraw the funds before you turn 71 years old.

If you fail to meet all four of these conditions, any withdrawals from your RRSP are added back as taxable income.

The LLP is pretty flexible – you can participate in the plan as often as you wish over your lifetime. Both you and your spouse can participate in the plan at the same time. You can participate in the LLP even if you still owe money from the Home Buyers’ Plan.

How Do You Withdraw Money From Your RRSP?

It’s important to withdraw the money from your RRSP correctly, or else it is added back to your income and is considered to be taxable. You cannot just cash in your RRSP and use the money towards your education. You need to follow the specific steps.

To withdraw funds from your RRSP for the LLP, you must complete Form RC96 (Lifelong Learning Plan – Request to Withdraw Funds From an Registered Retirement Savings Plan). You need to complete the form each time you make further withdrawals. You must complete the first part of the form, and your financial institution completes the second part of the form. When your financial institution cashes in your RRSP, you do not pay any withholding taxes as long as you meet all of the qualifying conditions.

If you withdraw funds from your RRSP less than 90 days after contributing them, you cannot deduct the full amount from your income. The contributions have to stay in your RRSP for 90 days before you can make a withdrawal under the LLP.

LLP Limitations

You can only withdraw up to $10,000 each year, up to a total of $20,000. The withdrawal amounts do not have anything to do with your tuition amount. You can make the full withdrawal regardless of how much your tuition actually costs.

Repayment

Generally you have up to 10 years to recontribute to your RRSP. The payment amount is usually a minimum of 1/10 of your withdrawal amount If you are a CRA My Account holder, you can easily view your LLP details via the online portal..

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