skip to Main Content

Navigating the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account: A Perspective for Wealthier Canadians and Family-Owned Businesses

The introduction of the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account by the Canadian government is a notable development, particularly advantageous for wealthier Canadians and family-owned businesses. As a CPA and tax law expert, I perceive this initiative not just as a boon for individual first-time homebuyers but also as a strategic opportunity for high-income families and family-run enterprises.

Overview of the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account

Since April 2023, the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account has attracted over 300,000 Canadians, reflecting its appeal and potential impact. It permits contributions up to $8,000 annually, with a lifetime cap of $40,000, for a first home down payment. The two main benefits are:

  • Tax Deductibility: Contributions reduce annual taxable income, similar to an RRSP.
  • Tax-Free Withdrawals: Like a TFSA, withdrawals for a first home purchase, including investment income, are non-taxable.

Strategic Implications for Higher-Income Families and Family-Owned Businesses

This account is particularly beneficial for young adults in higher tax brackets. For family-owned businesses, this presents an opportunity to channel income to their young adult children, enabling them to save for a first home while enjoying significant tax savings. This approach is especially advantageous for those in the top tax brackets.

Skepticism about General Housing Impact

While the government’s efforts, including this account and investments in housing infrastructure, aim to enhance housing accessibility and affordability, there is skepticism about their adequacy to meet the broader population’s needs. These measures seem to disproportionately favor the wealthier segment, who should fully exploit the tax advantages.

An Enhanced Real-World Example

Consider Alberta residents, Liam and Ava, both young professionals with annual incomes placing them in the highest tax bracket of 48%. Each saves $8,000 yearly in their Tax-Free First Home Savings Account. With an assumed investment growth rate of 8% over five years, their combined savings would be significantly higher than the basic model, primarily due to the higher tax bracket.  The couple could accumulate $101,375 and save $48,660 in taxes.

  • Savings Accumulation: In five years, each of their account balance, factoring in compound interest, would be $50,687.
  • Tax Savings: At a 48% tax rate, the annual tax saving per person would start at $4,147, totaling $24,330 over five years, significantly higher than for those in lower tax brackets (who conceptually could save no tax if they have no taxable income).
  • Overall Financial Benefit: The substantial tax relief, combined with robust investment growth, enhances their capacity to make a sizable down payment.
Year Investment Return on
Tax Sheltered Investment
Tax Savings
Year 1  $                         8,000  $                  640  $            8,640  $          4,147
Year 2  $                         8,000  $              1,331  $          17,971  $          4,479
Year 3  $                         8,000  $              2,078  $          28,049  $          4,837
Year 4  $                         8,000  $              2,884  $          38,933  $          5,224
Year 5  $                         8,000  $              3,755  $          50,687  $          5,642
TOTAL  $                       40,000  $            10,687  $          50,687  $        24,330


Final Thoughts

The Tax-Free First Home Savings Account is indeed transformative, particularly for wealthier families and family-owned businesses. It allows for efficient tax planning and significant savings, facilitating the journey towards homeownership for their younger members. For these groups, the account is more than just a savings tool; it’s a strategic financial instrument.

As specialists in tax law and tax accounting, we at Shajani CPA are equipped to guide you through these new developments. We can help optimize your family’s or business’s financial strategy considering these changes.

For more information see Canada’s Economic Plan for First Home, or schedule a meeting with the tax professionals at Shajani CPA.

This information is for discussion purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. There is no guarantee or warrant of information on this site and it should be noted that rules and laws change regularly. You should consult a professional before considering implementing or taking any action based on information on this site. Call our team for a consultation before taking any action. ©2023 Shajani CPA.

Shajani CPA is a CPA Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer firm and provides Accountant, Bookkeeping, Tax Advice and Tax Planning services.

Nizam Shajani, Partner, LLM, CPA, CA, TEP, MBA

I enjoy formulating plans that help my clients meet their objectives. It's this sense of pride in service that facilitates client success which forms the culture of Shajani CPA.

Shajani Professional Accountants has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. We’re here to support you in all of your personal and business tax and other accounting needs.