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An RESP is a tax shelter designed to benefit post-secondary students. With an RESP, contributions (comprising the investment's principal) are, or have already been, taxed at the contributor's tax rate, while the investment growth (and CESG) is taxed on withdrawal at the recipient's tax rate. An RESP recipient is typically a post-secondary student; these individuals generally pay little or no federal income tax, owing to tuition and education tax credits. Thus, with the tax-free principal contribution available for withdrawal, CESG, and nearly-tax-free interest, the student will have a good source of income to fund their post-secondary education.
Here is an overview of how an RESP generally works:
-A subscriber enters into an RESP contract with the promoter and names one or more beneficiaries under the plan
-The subscriber makes contributions to the RESP. Government grants (if applicable) will be paid to the RESP. These grants can be the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), Canada Learning Bond (CLB), or any designated provincial education savings program
-The promoter of the RESP administers all amounts paid into the RESP. As long as the income stays in the RESP, it is not taxable. The promoter also makes sure payments from the RESP are made according to the terms of the RESP
-The promoter can return the subscriber's contributions tax-free
-The promoter can make payments to the beneficiary to help finance his or her post-secondary education
-The promoter can make accumulated income payments