DEFINITION of 'Registered Education Savings Plan - RESP'

A savings plan sponsored by the Canadian government that encourages investing in a child's future post-secondary education. Subscribers to an RESP make contributions that build up tax-free earnings - tax-free because subscribers cannot deduct payments made to the plan from their income. The government contributes a certain amount to plans for children under 18 under the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG).

BREAKING DOWN 'Registered Education Savings Plan - RESP'

Payments are made by a contributor (parent) on behalf of a beneficiary (child). Once the child is in a post-secondary institution, he or she will receive educational assistance payments (EAPs). These EAPs count as income for the child (beneficiary). If the beneficiary doesn't receive payments - either by choice of the contributor or because the beneficiary does not attend a post-secondary institution, the contributor will receive the amount in the RESP back tax-free.

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