Useful Tax Tips for Individuals

Are you tired of handing over almost half of your hard-earned money to the Tax Man? Well, here are some useful tips from financial experts across Canada to help you trim your family's tax bill as well as smart strategies that'll add up to more savings in the next tax season.


  1. Automatic RRSP contributions
  2. Borrow to save
  3. Big tax refunds
  4. RESP
  5. Self-employed individuals
  6. Moving costs
  7. Medical expenses
  8. Don't overlook the child disability credit
  9. Pool your charitable donations
  10. Sign the kids up for fitness


Automatic RRSP contributions

Set up an automatic contribution plan throughout the year, advises a financial planner in West Vancouver. Either arrange to have deductions taken directly from your paycheque or have the funds debited from your bank account each month and deposited into an RRSP.
Borrow to save

If you don't have extra cash for an RRSP contribution, you may be better off borrowing the money than not contributing at all, says a financial consultant in Waterloo, Ont. The long-term benefits of deferring taxes and earning compound interest outweigh the interest costs of borrowing to make a contribution.
Big tax refunds

While getting back a large tax refund may feel good, but in reality it is a sign of poor tax planning. Since that money was sitting with the government for 12 months, it could have been earning you income in an investment. To keep that money in your own pocket, ask your employer for a T1213 Form to reduce the amount of taxes taken off your paycheque each month.

RESP

If you have school-age children, consider contributing to a registered education savings plan (RESP). You won't get a tax deduction, but the earnings will grow tax-free for up to 25 years. You may also benefit from a Canadian education savings grant of 20 per cent of your contribution to a maximum of $400 a year.
Self-employed individuals

If you own your own business, consider paying your kids or a lower-income-earning spouse a reasonable salary or wages and deduct it against your income. If you work out of a home office, you can also write off a portion of all eligible home costs, including mortgage interest, property taxes and utilities.
Moving costs

While moving house and home is never easy, there are some major tax breaks to help ease the pain. If you relocated at least 40 kilometers to start a new job or business, you can deduct most of the costs.

Medical expenses

Many of us assume we don't have enough medical expenses to get a tax credit (the total amount of receipts must exceed a set threshold or three per cent of net income, whichever is less), but they can add up quickly. Look for things that aren't an eligible expense under your group plan and don't forget to include any health-care premiums you're paying at work. Keep in mind that you can claim expenses for any 12-month period ending in the tax year you're filing (June 2008 to May 2009, for example), so pick the period that includes as many expenses as possible to maximize the credit.
Don't overlook the child disability credit

If your child has a severe, long-term physical or mental disability, don't overlook the Child Disability Benefit (CDB). To apply for the CDB, you must have Form T2201 completed and signed by a qualified medical practitioner. These forms are processed throughout the year, so you don't have to wait until it's time to file your tax return to apply.
Pool your charitable donations

If you and your spouse both make charitable donations, combine the receipts and claim them on one return. This will definitely increase the combined refund, as long as the overall donations are over $200.
Sign the kids up for fitness

The Children's Fitness Tax Credit kicked in 2007 tax season for children under the age of 16, so save any receipts for your child's ballet, swimming or other physical activity programs.
Please contact us for further details on any of the above items and we will be happy to assist you.