These nine ideas, from H&R Block Canada, could bolster your 2013 tax return. But you have to act by December 31st.
Consider donating to charity for the first time
The new federal First-time Donor’s Super Credit is meant to encourage people who have not donated to charity before, or who had fallen out of the habit. If you haven’t claimed a donation receipt since before 2008, your donations could receive an extra boost in 2013. For first time cash donations made after March 20, 2013, you can claim 40% on the first $200 of donations and 54% for donations between $200 and $1,000.
Plan your charitable donations
For more regular donors, the standard federal tax credit for charitable donations is 15% for your first $200 of donations and 29% on donations over that amount. When combined with provincial credits the savings can add up. But to qualify for your 2013 return, the donation must be made before December 31.
Review your stock portfolio
It is a smart strategy to review your portfolio before the year-end to see if you can find a tax advantage in taking a loss or cashing in a gain, but don’t wait until the very last minute. December 23rd is the deadline for making a trade if you want it recorded on your 2013 tax return. Capital losses can be carried back three years or carried forward indefinitely.
Donate shares for more tax savings
You can donate publicly-listed securities to registered charities or private foundations without being subject to capital gain taxes and still receive a tax receipt for your donation.
Trim your taxable income
If you have cashed in some of your RRSP, sold an investment property or received a lump sum payout from an employer, you may want to do a rough calculation of your taxable income to make sure you are not facing a big tax bill. There may be ways to reduce your bill but your strategies will be limited after December 31.
EI collecters, review your tax bill
Taxpayers collecting EI may want to check how much tax they owe before year end. In most cases, the tax withheld at the source from EI benefits is usually insufficient to cover their overall tax bill, when the benefits are added to other income earned during the year. If you were collecting regular EI benefits and are a repeat claimant, you may also have to repay some.
Plan your moving day carefully
Check the provincial tax rates before booking your the moving day. You are subject to provincial tax in the province where you reside on December 31. So if there is a substantial difference in the tax rates, you may want to either speed up or defer the move.
Contribute to junior's higher education
With tuition costs rising, many parents and grandparents want to take advantage of the government’s Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). You must make a contribution to your child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) before December 31. The lifetime RESP contribution limit is $50,000 with no annual contribution limit. The maximum RESP contribution that qualifies for the CESG is $2,500, providing a grant of $500. There are additional supplements for lower-and middle-income taxpayers.
Trying to find all your slips the day before the tax deadline is never a good thing. If you haven’t already, start an envelope or folder to hold all your tax slips and receipts. You can still procrastinate a little, but at least all your slips will be in one spot.