A few weeks ago, I signed up at the CRA website to use My Account. After I got my security access code in the mail, I could sign in to the detailed information. Out of curiousity, I reviewed my TFSA contribution history. Today, I started thinking about our RRSPs. We’ve been contributing since we started working, shortly after the last dinosaurs were driven out of the Alberta Badlands because the hikers resented tripping over their bones all the time. To say I have no idea what my cumulative lifetime contributions have been is an understatement. So I signed in to the CRA My Account website to see if I could find what my total RRSP contributions have been.
Does the CRA My Account Website Have a Succinct Pithy Summary of My RRSP Contributions?
At least I couldn’t find one.
The My Account site lists how much you contributed including transfers in and repayments of the LLP and HBP for most years. However, this information is included in a web page with other data so you have to pick it out visually from the clutter. And you have to subtract the transfers and repayments yourself.
This is a bit surprising as the same site does provide a neat, complete summary of TFSA contributions.
How Can Someone Not Know How Much They’ve Contributed to Their RRSP?
Well you efficient organized people won’t understand this but some of the rest of you might.
So far I’ve invested (ha!) RRSP money at
- 2 big banks
- 1 internet bank
- 1 government Canada Savings Bond RRSP program
- Canada Savings Bonds (I contributed the bonds “in kind” to make our annual contribution)
- Daily interest savings accounts
- Index mutual funds, when they were a new invention
Gradually, I’ve been rounding up all of these investments and shifting them to a couple of online discount brokerages (BMO InvestorLine and RBC Direct Investing.)
(I’ve always kept track of how much unused RRSP contribution room I have but I haven’t kept a deliberate running total of what I contributed.)
I could check my contributions from my tax returns. In fact, some where on the half-dead not-connected-to-the-internet computer, the numbers are probably already tabulated for my contributions, though not my husband’s. I just think it might be simpler to see what the CRA thinks I’ve done.
You can check your RRSP contributions, too. Here’s how.
Checking Your RRSP Contributions Online Using the CRA My Account Website
First, you must have a CRA My Account user ID and password set up. (I wrote up how to get one in this article.)
Go the My Account for Individuals website at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/myaccount/
Sign in to your CRA My Account
- Click on the CRA Login button.
- In the User ID: field, type your id.
- In the Password: field, type your password. This is not your CRA security code. It’s the password you picked before you got that code in the mail.
- Answer the security question and click Continue.
- If the date and time of last access is correct, click Continue
- Click the RRSP and savings plans tab.
- Click the RRSP link.
The RRSP Page
Hmmm. I’m not sure if any of these links leads to what I want to know. I’ll have to try some.
The “Calculation of 2014 RRSP deduction limit” and the “Calculation of your 2013 unused RRSP contributions” don’t sound promising but I’ll still look at them.
It looks like I may have to use several links to get all of the contributions from the past to the previous tax year of 2013. So…
The Calculation of 2014 RRSP Deduction Limit Link Page
Click on the link: Calculation of 2014 RRSP deduction limit
Ok, this has
- my “allowable RRSP contributions deducted in 2013”
- my “unused RRSP deduction limit at the end of 2013”
I’ll need both those numbers if I was carrying forward an unclaimed deduction (not an unclaimed contribution; an unclaimed deduction) and/or if I made a contribution in 2013 but didn’t deduct it, thus increasing my unused RRSP deduction limit at the end of 2013.
Unfortunately, neither number reports my actual “contribution” made in 2013.
If I carried forward some RRSP contributions and deducted them in 2013 they will make it look like I contributed more in 2013 than I actually put in.
And, if I decided not to deduct all of the RRSP contributions I made in 2013 but instead decided to carry some forward to 2014 or beyond, I can’t simply see how much new money went into my RRSP in 2013.
Next, I’ll check another one line wonder.
The Prior Year RRSP Deduction Limits and Calculations Link Page
Click on the link: Prior year RRSP deduction limits and calculations
This should have the data for 2012.
Actually, it has data for many years. For each year it lists:
- that year’s RRSP deduction limit
- that year’s unused RRSP contributions
Those are the ones you have contributed but have not yet deducted.
So this is of limited value for what I’m trying to do today.
OK, how about a third one line wonder?
The Calculation of Your 2013 Unused RRSP Contributions Link Page
Click on the link: Calculation of your 2013 unused RRSP contributions
Ah ha! One of the lines here is “2013 contributions” (including transfers)
It should probably also say (including HBP and LLP repayments) because those are subtracted in the following two lines.
So if you made a transfer from a spouse’s RRSP into your own (usually because of a divorce), you’ll have to know how much was transferred so that you can calculate how much of your own money you contributed in 2013.
Next, I’ll check another link, the “Prior year RRSP contribution history”
The Prior Year RRSP Contribution History Link Screen
Click on the Prior year RRSP contribution history link.
4 pages. That seems more promising.
The pages show the following for each year (for 2012 in this example):
- 2012 RRSP Contribution History
- Unused RRSP contributions available for 2012
- Plus: 2012 contributions (including transfers)
- Minus: 2012 HBP or LLP repayments
- Minus: 2012 deducted contributions (including transfers)
- Unused RRSP contributions available for 2013
Note: Those “transfers” likely are things like transferring some of your RRSP to a spouse due to a divorce. I can see they don’t mean transfers between financial institutions in your own name, because there is no data for my moves from one bank to a brokerage.
So I’ll still have to type out some numbers to find my total lifetime contributions to my RRSP. Pardon me for a minute while I open Excel.
Sorry about that delay. I did warn you that my history goes back to just shortly after the Burgess Shale was laid down.
So from the CRA website, for each year, I input my contribution (including transfers) and my HBP or LLP repayment and then calculated my contribution that was not a repayment. Fortunately, my husband is still tolerating me, so I didn’t have to deduct any transfers. This was not an ideal way to get at the data for which I was looking.
Anyway, to my dismay I found the CRA data only goes back to 1992. Rats. So I still have to boot up Ol’ Trusty or pull my old tax returns.
So for you young un’s or late starters, the CRA data may be useful. For us ol’ timers it has limited value.
Why Does the CRA My Account RRSP Data Not Go Back Before 1992?
Well, hating to admit it, it’s probably because of when computers became integral parts of our lives and jobs.
Believe it or not, in the 1980s there was no modern-day internet. Home computers were considered a bit silly: you could type out your recipes, and create a simple Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. It wasn’t until the 1990s that you could play Duke Nukem and even Leisure Suit Larry wasn’t coded till 1987.
I’m not sure when the CRA started digitizing all of its tax returns but it’s looking suspiciously like 1992. I wonder how big the push was to get and start using PCs once the Duke was available to play at lunch time? It probably took about a year to convince management…..
Another Way to Get My RRSP Contribution History from the CRA My Account Website
- Sign in to your account.
- Click on the Tax Returns tab.
- Click on the View Returns link.
Double rats. They only have links to my returns from 2003 to 2013.
- Click on the link for the return of interest.
- Line 208 for your RRSP deduction
- Line 245 for the Total contributions made to your RRSP or your spouse or common-law partner’s RRSP
- Line 246 for the RRSP contributions designated as a repayment under the HBP
- Line 262 for the RRSP contributions designated as a repayment under the LLP
- Hopefully they will also show Line 240 Transfers but I can’t check since I don’t have any transfers to look up.
NOTE: if one of the lines is not applicable to your return, it will not be shown. So if you didn’t make a HBP repayment, there won’t be any Line 246 to look at.
So looking at your returns online is one way to tally up your RRSP contributions IF you only have been contributing for 10 or fewer years.
This appears to be a 10 year “rolling” list. So in 2015, I expect you’ll only be able to look at returns for 2004-2013.
Always Leave the CRA My Account Website Safely!
- Click on the Logout button.
- Click on the Exit button.
- Clear your cache and close your browser session.
- How to Get Access to the CRA My Account Website
- How Can I Roughly Estimate the Return on my RRSP Contributions?
Have you kept meticulous track of every cent you’ve contributed to your RRSP? Or have you only kept a vague eye on your initial investment numbers so as not to despair too much about your overall low rate of return? Please share your experiences with a comment.