RRIF Questions and Answers

When can I start to receive income from my RRIF? Expand/Collapse

There is no minimum age for converting an RRSP to a RRIF, so you can convert as soon as you need retirement income. But you do have to convert your RRSP investments into some form of retirement income before the end of the calendar year in which you turn 71. You can make a contribution to your RRSP for that year as long as you contribute by December 31.

Is retirement income taxable? Expand/Collapse

There are no tax consequences when you transfer your funds from an RRSP to a RRIF. The payments you receive from your RRIF are taxable at the same rates as RRSP withdrawals, but withholding tax is not automatically applied to minimum RRIF payments.  Since your RRIF income is spread over your retirement years, so are the taxes. If you are over age 65, income received from your RRIF and other pensions qualifies for the Pension Income Credit, which can lead to tax savings.

How do I choose my payment level? Expand/Collapse

You must take some taxable payments from the RRIF each year, except the year that you first open your RRIF. You can choose any payment level, as long as the total each year is at least equal to the mandatory minimum amount.

Can I choose to base my RRIF payments on my spouse's birthdate? Expand/Collapse

Yes, you can choose to base your RRIF payments on your birthdate or your spouse's/common-law partner's birthdate.

  • If your spouse is younger, especially if younger than 71, your minimum payments will be much lower
  • If you select the age of the older spouse, your minimum payment will be higher without triggering a withholding tax at source
  • If both RRIFs are based on the same birth date, when one spouse passes away the survivor can combine two or more RRIFs into one, rather than having to continue with separate RRIFs

If you didn't make this choice when you applied for your RRIF, or if you marry or enter into a common-law partnership later, you can transfer your RRIF to a new RRIF based on your spouse's age.