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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys
i became a canadian permanent resident in 2017 with the target of moving here in 2019 when my spouse finished her studies . i landed here in 2017 for a few days and returned to US and my spouse stayed in canada for her studies , in 2019 December i moved here from NJ and am staying here since . however we got divorced in 2020.

in my TFSA contribution room , am i eligible as a non resident from 2017 ? or my contribution room starts only from 2020?
 

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Non-residents are not granted TFSA contribution room and can't make TFSA contributions.

The max would be if having PR with the few days in 2017 were considered enough to have established residency for that year. If so, one would be granted the 2017 TFSA allotment of $5.5K, assuming the other criteria like being 18+ were met. I'm not so sure it's enough for residency though as I believe it's 183 days - though the primary residential ties may change this.

Did you file a Canadian tax return for 2017?

Since Dec 2019 through now is continuous, I'd think you'd be granted the 2019 through 2021 TFSA contribution allotments (total of $18K).


Since you mention returning to the US, be aware that if you are a US person (ex. US citizenship or an active green card) the US will tax the TFSA as well as require what is described as PITA reporting.
That in addition to having two tax returns (one for Canada based on residency as well as a US one based on being a US person).


Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Non-residents are not granted TFSA contribution room and can't make TFSA contributions.

The max would be if having PR with the few days in 2017 were considered enough to have established residency for that year. If so, one would be granted the 2017 TFSA allotment of $5.5K, assuming the other criteria like being 18+ were met. I'm not so sure it's enough for residency though as I believe it's 183 days - though the primary residential ties may change this.

Did you file a Canadian tax return for 2017?

Since Dec 2019 through now is continuous, I'd think you'd be granted the 2019 through 2021 TFSA contribution allotments (total of $18K).


Since you mention returning to the US, be aware that if you are a US person (ex. US citizenship or an active green card) the US will tax the TFSA as well as require what is described as PITA reporting.
That in addition to having two tax returns (one for Canada based on residency as well as a US one based on being a US person).


Cheers
Thank You @Eclectic12 for such an informative response
1. i did not file taxes in 2017 or 2019 , i will for 2020
2. i assumed i will be considered a resident because my spouse was a permanent resident in canada from 2017 and inland . This is what you said it can be a maybe , is there a Gov validator i will be able to check this with ?
3. i opened my first bank account in canada in 2019 Dec so i am assuming I will get that contribution room
 

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It most likely depends on your own personal residency for tax purposes in this case, not that of your spouse. I would guess you only have 2020 eligibility. Your tax returns generally validate your residency, along with CRA verification with Border Services record of entry/departure if they choose to do so. The penalties are fairly onerous as regards to erroneous/false usage of TFSA room, so it is not worth making a WAG. Further, as Electic12 said, if you are having to file US tax returns, the USA doesn't acknowledge a TFSA as a tax free retirement account.
 

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The first wrinkle for the 2017 eligibility is that I'm not sure if a spouse who is studying would be considered as much of a residential tie compared to a spouse, living in a primary residence who is working in Canada.

The second wrinkle is that you mention going back to the US. My understanding is that it likely means the US has more ties, likely ruling out the TFSA contribution room being granted. There might be something in the Canada - US tax treaty but the provisions I have seen people post about are when one has a lot more ties to Canada.

I'd stick to 2019 and ongoing, unless one gets more trustworthy info and help than from an anonymous message board.

Cheers
 
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