Opening and closing your FHSAs

Find out who is eligible to open a first home savings account (FHSA), how to open an account, and when to close your accounts. 

You can open an FHSA starting April 1, 2023.

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Who can open an FHSA

To open an FHSA, you must be a qualifying individual.

You are a qualifying individual if you meet all of the following requirements at the time the account is opened:

In certain provinces and territories, the legal age at which an individual can enter into a contract (which includes opening an FHSA) is 19 years old.

If you become a non-resident of Canada after opening an FHSA, special rules will apply. For more information, go to Non-residents and FHSAs.

For the purpose of opening an FHSA, you will be considered to be a first-time home buyer if you did not, at any time in the current calendar year before the account is opened or at any time in the preceding four calendar years, live in a qualifying home  (or what would be a qualifying home if located in Canada) as your principal place of residence that either:

How to open an FHSA

Before you open an FHSA, you have to determine if you are a qualifying individual. For more information, go to Who can open an FHSA.

You can open an FHSA through an FHSA issuer  such as a bank, credit union, or a trust or insurance company. Your issuer will advise you on the types of FHSAs and the qualified investments  they can contain.

You can have more than one FHSA at any given time, but in order to avoid unintended tax consequences, the total amount you can contribute to all of your FHSAs and transfer from your RRSPs to all your FHSAs in a calendar year cannot be more than your FHSA participation room  for that year.

To open an FHSA, you must do the following:

  1. Contact your issuer

  2. Provide the issuer with the information they need to register your FHSA, including:

    • your social insurance number
    • your date of birth
    • any supporting documents your issuer may need to certify that you are a qualifying individual

If you do not provide the required information to the issuer, the issuer will not open an FHSA on your behalf.

If you provide information to the issuer and it is subsequently determined that you provided incorrect information, it is possible that the registration of your FHSA may be revoked as far back as the date on which it was opened.

The following will apply after the date of revocation:

  • any contributions made to the account will not be tax-deductible
  • any amounts transferred from your RRSPs to the account will be treated as an RRSP withdrawal and must be reported as income on your income tax and benefit return for the year of transfer
  • any income earned under the account will not be tax-free and must be reported on your income tax and benefit return for the year it was earned

When you open your FHSAs, you may want to designate a beneficiary on your account. For more information, go to Types of beneficiaries.

Types of FHSAs

There are three types of FHSAs that can be offered:

Banks, insurance companies, credit unions and trust companies can be FHSA issuers which offer FHSAs.

For information about a type of FHSA, contact an FHSA issuer.

Self-directed FHSA

You can set up a self-directed FHSA if you prefer to build and manage your investment portfolio by buying and selling different types of qualified investments. For more information, contact an FHSA issuer.

When to close an FHSA

Your maximum participation period begins when you open your first FHSA and ends on December 31 of the year in which the earliest of the following events occur:

In order to avoid unintended tax consequences, you should close all of your FHSAs before your maximum participation period ends.

If you have any property  in your FHSA on or before the end of your maximum participation period, generally you can directly transfer the property on a tax-deferred basis into your RRSPs or registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) . For more information about transfers, go to Transfers between FHSAs and other registered plans.

If you withdraw any remaining property as a taxable withdrawal, you must include this amount as income on your income tax and benefit return for the year the amounts are received. For more information about withdrawals from an FHSA, go to Withdrawals from your FHSAs.

If you have an excess FHSA amount  before you close your FHSAs, go to What happens if you contribute or transfer too much to your FHSAs.

If property remains in your accounts after your maximum participation period ends, and they lose their status as FHSAs, you must include the fair market value (FMV)  of all of the property in your FHSAs as of the end of the day on December 31 of that year, as income on your income tax and benefit return for that year.

After the death of the last FHSA holder , all FHSAs should be closed by the end of the exempt period. For more information, go to Closing the FHSAs after death.

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