How to use the CELIAPP to purchase a first property

How to use the CELIAPP to purchase a first property

We have been waiting impatiently, here is the CELIAPP. This is not an Eastern European hockey player newly acquired by the Montreal Canadiens. Rather, the TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account for First Time Home Buyers) is the federal government’s latest savings program to make buying a first home easier. Very good news!

• Also read: We answer all your questions about the CELIAPP

• Also read: The new CELIAPP: a good idea

Beginning April 1, all Canadian residents between the ages of 18 and 71 who have not owned a home for at least five years can open a tax-free savings account and contribute up to $8,000 annually.

The balance of unpaid contributions during a year rolls over to the following year, up to a maximum of $40,000 over a 15-year period. For example, a couple can put down $80,000 on a property purchase plus the returns they have made over the years. And all of this, remember, is tax-free.

Question from Susan

“If I invest $8,000 in my new TFSA account on April 1, 2023, how long will I be able to withdraw it for my first home? I have to go to the notary on April 20, can I benefit from this? »

Dear Suzanne, The program comes into effect on April 1st, so you can benefit from it. Be sure to open your account with your financial institution at the beginning of April, which will send you all the documents for your tax return in good time. Go to the notary in peace and enjoy your first home.


There is already a property access plan called the RAP (Regime d’accession à la property) which is set up by taking money from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).

Is it possible to combine the two programs? Yes. The HBP allows $35,000 from RRSPs to be used to purchase a home. By adding the $40,000 from the CELIAPP, one person can raise $75,000; a pair, $150,000. Considering that these savings earn interest, this represents a significant down payment.

The fundamental difference between the two programs is that the amounts withdrawn from the CELIAPP for purchases do not have to be refunded. With regard to the HBP, the amounts must be paid back to the RRSP in the 15 years following the purchase of the home.


Can I transfer funds from the RRSP directly to the TFSA? Does this count as a taxable withdrawal? Yes, it is possible and these money movements have no tax consequences.

Payments into the TFSA are made on a calendar year basis, ie from January 1st to December 31st and, unlike an RRSP, do not extend beyond 60 days into the following year.

Funds deposited into the TFSA, if unused after 15 years from account opening, may be deposited back into the RRSP with no tax consequences or caps.


Thanks to this savings promotion, the CELIAPP program is a real must for anyone who wants to buy a first-time property.

Take action now!


  • Open your CELIAPP account as soon as possible, even if you are a student and your income is low. In a few years your income will have increased and you will be able to deposit more tax-free.
  • Another reason to act now, if you don’t have a TFSA account and you meet the love of your life who owns a property, you’re no longer eligible for the TFSA program if you live together. On the other hand, if you opened your account before the cohabitation, no problem.
  • Don’t donate more than the approved limit, otherwise you will have to pay a penalty: 1% per month on overpaid contributions.

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