How to correctly input data for LIRA to LIF conversion and one-time unlocking transfer to RRSP

It took me some time to arrive at this solution, so I’ll document it for others.  The only other references that I could find on the TurboTax AnswerXchange on this subject were not helpful.  If I’ve done something incorrect feel free to correct me. 

With the demise of defined benefit pension plans, the retirement savings plans for many Canadians will end up in a LIRA once they stop working.  In order to withdraw money the LIRA needs to be converted to a LIF.  When that happens many provinces allow a one-time unlocking of (typically) 50% of the funds by moving them to an RRSP.  This gives greater flexibility for accessing that money.  When the unlocking is done, the financial institution holding the LIF will issue two documents to you.  One will show the 50% unlocked value as RIF income and the other will show the value as an RRSP contribution.  The latter cancels out the former from the perspective of paying taxes, meaning that you won’t have to pay any tax on the unlocked money until it is later withdrawn from the RRSP.  How to input these two documents into TurboTax?  I’m using TT Standard download version and I’m using “Forms”, not the “EasyStep Interview”.  The income is just input in the “Federal Slips” dialog for “T4RIF”.  The amount on the RRSP receipt for the 50% unlocked value needs to end up in line 208 of the T1 General.  Double-click there to bring up the RRSP receipt input screen.  My RRSP receipt value needs to be input into two places, “Contribution made between March 2 and December 31, 2018” and “Designated Transfer of eligible income amount”.  That wasn’t intuitive to me (I first tried one then the other, but not both - see screenshots below).  If the developers are reading this can I suggest that it would be better if the “Designated Transfer” line was a question like the two previous.  I would have just answered “Yes” to a question “Is this a Designated Transfer of eligible income amount?” and TT would have allowed the contribution to exceed the “RRSP deduction limit for 2018” value, which it won’t normally do.


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Answer

Thank you for sharing this information :) Your comments are very detailed and informative and I have converted them to an answer. As well attached an answer from TurboTax myself entered shortly after you posted this. 

"With the demise of defined benefit pension plans, the retirement savings plans for many Canadians will end up in a LIRA once they stop working.  In order to withdraw money the LIRA needs to be converted to a LIF.  When that happens many provinces allow a one-time unlocking of (typically) 50% of the funds by moving them to an RRSP.  This gives greater flexibility for accessing that money.  When the unlocking is done, the financial institution holding the LIF will issue two documents to you.  One will show the 50% unlocked value as RIF income and the other will show the value as an RRSP contribution.  The latter cancels out the former from the perspective of paying taxes, meaning that you won’t have to pay any tax on the unlocked money until it is later withdrawn from the RRSP.  How to input these two documents into TurboTax?  I’m using TT Standard download version and I’m using “Forms”, not the “EasyStep Interview”.  The income is just input in the “Federal Slips” dialog for “T4RIF”.  The amount on the RRSP receipt for the 50% unlocked value needs to end up in line 208 of the T1 General.  Double-click there to bring up the RRSP receipt input screen.  My RRSP receipt value needs to be input into two places, “Contribution made between March 2 and December 31, 2018” and “Designated Transfer of eligible income amount”.  That wasn’t intuitive to me (I first tried one then the other, but not both - see screenshots below).  If the developers are reading this can I suggest that it would be better if the “Designated Transfer” line was a question like the two previous.  I would have just answered “Yes” to a question “Is this a Designated Transfer of eligible income amount?” and TT would have allowed the contribution to exceed the “RRSP deduction limit for 2018” value, which it won’t normally do".

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