You can not double-check when you contributed to your TFSA using the Canada Revenue Agency’s Telephone Information System, TIPS. What you can check is how much contribution room was left at the start of the current year.
How Up to Date is the TFSA Contribution Room Information from the CRA?
Unfortunately, financial institutions are only required to report your TFSA contributions to the tax department at the end of December each year. That means the info the government has can get out of date quickly. If you make a contribution on or after January 1, they won’t necessarily know about it so they don’t report it whether they know or not.
The TIPs option to review your Individual Tax Free Savings Account can only tell you the amount of unused TFSA room you had on January 1 of the current year.
So if you’ve made several small contributions this year, the TIPs system will not be of much use to you.
Information You Need to Check your TFSA Contributions Using TIPs
You will probably need the following info to use TIPS
- your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- your full date of birth
- the amount you reported on line 150 (Total Income) of your last tax return that has been filed and processed by the CRA. The number you need is what you reported, not what the CRA reported on your Notice of Assessment. Sometimes the CRA came up with a different value than you did.
When Is TIPS for TFSAs Available?
For TFSA information, TIPs is available from mid-February to the end of December. (In January and the first half of February, this option is unavailable as the previous year’s contribution information from the banks and other institutions is being input.)
In months when TIPs is available for TFSAs, the service is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
To Check your TFSA Contributions and Contribution Room Using CRA’s Telephone Information Phone System
- Call 1-800-267-6999. (for free)
- Select the option for Tax Free Savings Accounts.
- Select the option for your Individual Tax Free Savings Account.
Do not select the General Information option. The General Info option just tells you about how TFSAs work, what the penalties are for mis-use etc.
The Individual Tax Free Savings Account service lets you know the amount of unused TFSA contributions as of January 1st of the current year.
- When prompted, enter and confirm your Social Insurance Number, SIN.
- When prompted, enter and confirm your month and year of birth.
- When prompted, enter and confirm the amount from line 150, Total income, from your previous year’s completed and accepted tax return. Do not just use the amount from your Notice of Assessment, use the value from your actual return.
The telephone system will respond with your TFSA contribution room as of January 1 of the current year.
If you have any concerns, like some Questrade customers did, it might be worth checking your TFSA contribution room for mistakes.
Did you ever check your TFSA contribution room online? Was it useful or was it hopelessly out of date? Please share your experiences with a comment.