Q&A: RRSP carry-forward

Question: The maximum RRSP deduction limit for 2009 is $21,000. However, if you did not use your entire RRSP deduction limit for the years 1991-2009, you can carry forward the unused amount to 2010. Therefore, your RRSP deduction limit for 2009 may be more than $21,000. My question is: was this possible before 1991? – George V.

Gordon Pape answers: No. The carry-forward mechanism for RRSPs officially came into effect on Jan. 1, 1991. Prior to that it was a case of “use it or lose it”. Initially, there was a seven-year limit on carry-forwards but then Finance Minister Paul Martin removed that in the 1996 budget, allowing carry-forward credits to be available indefinitely.

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