Is it possible to contribute to an RRSP while working overseas?

Jamie Golombek, vice-president of taxation and estate planning at AIM Trimark Investments, has the answer.

Jamie Golombek 28 January, 2003 | 2:00PM

Dear Expert:

I am a Canadian working overseas and contributing to the obligatory pension scheme in France. Is it possible to contribute to an RRSP while working overseas? I do not have an RRSP account at the moment since I left Canada several years ago after my studies. Thank you for your help; my numerous questions to the Canadian embassy were unanswered.

Expert Opinion:

If you are working in France and have been doing so for a number of years already, you are likely considered to be a non-resident of Canada, unless you maintain significant "residential ties" to Canada. (For more information as to whether or not you are considered a resident of Canada, please see CCRA's website at http://www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca.) Assuming you are not a resident of Canada, your income in France does not constitute "earned income" and therefore does not generate RRSP contribution room. Unless you have unused RRSP room available from prior years (i.e. prior to the date you became non-resident), you will face penalty tax of 1% per month on any contributions you make to your RRSP beyond your contribution room.

Do you have a question?

All Ask the Expert questions are read and considered. Unfortunately we can't provide individual responses or respond to every question. Please note that questions about specific securities cannot be considered. Click here to Ask the Expert.


To find out how much an RRSP contribution may save you, try Morningstar's RRSP Calculator

No statement in this article should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell securities or to provide investment advice or individual financial planning. Morningstar Canada does not provide specific portfolio advice and recommends the use of a qualified financial planner when appropriate.

About Author

Jamie Golombek

Jamie Golombek