13 Things You Should Know Before Filing Your Taxes
It’s that time of year again. Before you file your taxes, here are 13 things you should know that could help you save.
You Should Remember to Change From RRSP to RRIF
Turning 71 this year? Make a final RRSP contribution so you can lower your tax rate and get one last refund before converting to a Registered Retirement Income Fund, mandatory when you hit 71.
You Can Cut Your Tax Bill
Cut down the family’s tax bill by investing in the lower-earning spouse’s name so interest and capital gains are taxed at their rate.
You Can Borrow from Your Spouse
If you’re the lower-income partner, borrow from your spouse to buy stocks and bonds. Write up a promissory note with the interest rate and principal, since it’s a loan. Earn more than two per cent on your investments, the current spousal loan interest rate, and you’ll make money.
You Can Share With Your Kids
Give cash to your adult kids. Money or assets gifted to a child 18 or over don’t result in income attribution to parents.
You Should Start a Tax-Free Savings Account
You can give your son or daughter up to $5,500 a year to put in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). It compounds without penalty, and they won’t pay taxes on withdrawal.
You Can Invest for Your Child
Income transferred or loaned to your children under 18 means you pay the tax on any dividends and interest earned. But not with capital gains. If you buy shares of growth companies in your five-year-old’s name with $50,000, by the time he’s 18, those shares could be worth $100,000. He can then withdraw, say, $10,000 a year, at a lower rate.
You Can Create an Account in Your Child’s Name
Deposit your child’s tax benefit cheque in an account in their name-income earned there will be taxed at their far lower rate.
You Can Invest in Education
It pays to invest in education. Earnings on a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) are tax-exempt. The federal government will pay a grant into the RESP that’s 20 per cent of your annual contribution, per beneficiary. And when your child starts post-secondary, funds can be withdrawn for free.
You Should Know Where Your Investments Are
Pay attention to where you hold investments. GICs, bonds and other fixed-income investments should be held in a tax-sheltered account, such as an RRSP or TFSA, while U.S. stocks should be kept in a non-registered investment account, where the foreign withholding tax on dividends can be recovered.
You Should Know About the Home Buyers’ Plan
If you’re buying your first home, you can make withdrawals for the down payment from your RRSPs thanks to the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan. You and your spouse can withdraw up to $25,000 each, tax-free, with 15 years to repay the loan.