JMH & Co., your friendly neighbourhood accountants, providing you with last-minute tax planning ideas for the end of the year.
Tis the season for baking cookies, decorating the house, wrapping gifts, and… last minute tax planning!
We know that may not be what you were hoping for, but this is the ideal time to ensure the following items are checked off your list prior to January 1st.
If you plan on making any additional charitable donations this year, ensure you do it by December 31st. This offers you the ability to claim the amount on your next tax return. This can also serve as a great Christmas present for those in your life who don’t want or need a traditional gift.
Most people have until the end of February to make their last minute RRSP contributions. However, if you have turned 71 this year, you have one last chance to contribute to your RRSP and it has to be done by December 31st.
Even if you are planning to make a contribution in February of next year, contributing it earlier will maximize its tax-deferred growth. Before going ahead and making that contribution, contact us to make sure the amount isn’t above your contribution limit and that it all adds up for you!
✓ CAPITAL GAINS OR LOSSES
If you are holding any stocks that have increased in value, it might be better to recognize that gain now rather than in the future – depending on your income for the year. On the other hand, if you did dispose of shares early on in the year, you might want to trigger some losses in December to cover those earlier gains.
It is a good idea to meet with both your financial advisor and your accountant to decide these things in early December as they can ensure that the loss or gain is triggered in the right year.
The last date to complete a trade for 2019 is December 27th, so don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to make these decisions.
✓ MEDICAL EXPENSES
If you have a bill outstanding with your dentist, pay it off before year-end so that you can claim the medical expenses. If you still need to book in that root canal, make sure you see him/her before December 31st as well.
It is best to to bundle your medical expenses in one year rather than spreading them out in order to get the best tax advantage.
✓ LOW INCOME YEAR
Sometimes, you just don’t make as much as usual. Maybe you had a new baby this year and took time off. Maybe you cut back at work. Whatever the reason, when you know that your income is going to be lower than normal, you’ll want to talk to your tax advisor to see if there is anything you should be doing differently. It might be as simple as withdrawing from your RRSP this year so that you make use of those tax credits available to you.
✓ SMALL BUSINESS CORPORATIONS
If you have a corporation and are operating as a small business, watch out if you also have any investment income. While changes came into effect last year for those with investment income (including capital gains!), this may be the first year that you will begin to feel its effects. We are happy to sit down and discuss this with you.