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Dear Nancy Woods,

I have an LIRA (locked-in retirement account) and I am wondering how do I go about accessing the money in it? Also what is the tax rate when money is withdrawn from the LIRA?

Terry

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Hi Terry,

You cannot withdraw funds from a LIRA until after age 55. If you are past that age, you can withdraw by converting the account to a LRIF (Locked in Retirement Income fund). At that time, depending on the province you reside in, you can transfer 50 per cent of the LIRA into a non-locked in RIF. This will allow you the option deregister some or all of that portion and pay the applicable tax on it. The amount deregistered is added to your income for the year it is withdrawn and taxed accordingly. There will be a withholding tax taken when it is deregistered.

Once you convert the LIRA into a LRIF, similar to a RIF (Retirement Income Fund) account, you are required to withdraw a specific minimum amount each year. There is some allowance to increase that amount to a specific maximum. The amount is a percentage of the market value at the beginning of the calendar year based on your age.

There are other unique situations that will allow you to withdraw funds such as financial hardship. Depending on if the LIRA is federal or provincial regulated and which province you reside in will determine the process required to request the exception.

Nancy Woods is an associate portfolio manager and investment adviser with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Visit her website www.nancywoods.com or send an email request to asknancy@rbc.com. You can also send your questions to asknancy@rbc.com.

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