Once again, it’s year-end tax planning time …

Before we start to celebrate another festive season, let’s review some essential planning items and act now to make sure we save on 2017 tax dollars.

  • Make sure you’ve paid these bills before the year-end for this year’s tax benefits/credits –
    medical and dental expenses;
    child care expenses;
    spousal support payment;
    political donations;
    charitable donations;
    tuition fees (there are new rules in 2017 extending eligibility for occupational skills courses);
    interest and vestment counsel fees;
    monthly transit pass costs for January to June, 2017 (this credit is no longer available after June 30, 2017).
  • Harvesting tax losses.   Consider selling unwanted investment losers in your non registered portfolios to use as offsets to your capital gains.   Any unused losses for the current tax year can also be carried back three years and forward indefinitely.  The last stock trading date for settlement of securities this year is December 27, 2017, for both Canadian and US exchange securities.
  • Good to hold off buying any mutual funds until the new year.   This will avoid any possible surprising and unanticipated income distribution even if you owned the funds for a month or less.
  • For self employed taxpayers, consider
    – making your intended capital item purchases (such as an automobile) before the business’ year-end to maximize your capital cost allowance.  You are entitled to claim half of the maximum business deductions for the year even though you actually only owned the item(s) for as few as one day!
    – consider paying adult family members a reasonable amount on work they’ve performed for the business for income splitting purpose. It is especially important if you have an incorporated business as the government is looking to changing the tax rules in 2018;
    – if you have discretion over the timing and amount of receipt of non-eligible dividend income, consider receiving them this year rather than later.  Tax rates are increasing.   Although other consideration like tax deferral benefits must also be taken into account.
  • This is the time to see if it makes sense to contribute to your RRSP or spousal RRSP for the current year.   You probably know how much income you’ve earned for the year, and whether a contribution will benefit you in tax savings.
  • Adjust your 4th quarter tax instalment to compensate for possible 2017 over or under payment.
  • It’s always wise to contribute to your TFSA if there’s excess cash for savings and investments.   Doing so in your TFSA will help you avoid taxation on any investment income generated from those contributions.

Upcoming deadlines –
2017 personal tax filing – April 30, 2018
2017 personal tax filing with selfemployment reporting – June 15, 2018
RRSP contribution deadline for 2017 – March 01, 2018