It’s time to spend and make special memories with the ones we love. One thing you may not want to do over the holidays is call your accountant. Don’t worry, we’re not offended! However, businesses still buy and sell, file their HST and pay their workers so entrepreneurship never really goes silent. But, things slow down and we find ourselves (hopefully you have finished all your holiday shopping and preparations by now!) with some extra spare minutes.
The following suggestions will not take too long but will make a big impact and you won’t have to think about them for the rest of the year!
RRSP’s: Call your bank or go online and starting in January, set up a regular monthly contribution, by automatic transfer. Making automatic monthly contributions (amounts are different for each individual) allows you to forget about making the payments. You may not even notice them coming out of the bank!
Emergency Records: You don’t often think about it, or want to think about it but it does happen. Fires, floods, an death or illness… If any of this would happen, would you or your loved ones know where all your accounts were, who you were insured with, what credit cards you have available? And the account numbers for all of these? Heres what to do:
Go through your filing drawer.
Photocopy the latest statement/ renewal for each account/ policy you hold, or grab an old one if the account details haven’t changed.
Photocopy your passport, driver’s licence, OHIP and SIN card.
Repeat for each household member.
Put in a sealed envelope and write contact details for your executor, lawyer, and accountant on the front.
Give to someone you trust that doesn’t reside in the same location to keep safe.
You can also create a digital copy of all of the above and store in a password protected folder in the clouds and give the password to a few select people.
Do the same next year.
As you know, the tax year ends on December 31 – for all individuals, and for many corporations too. All the big firms publish “Year-end guides for tax planning”, although many of them are broader tax planning documents, rather than what to do in December. These guides are worth reading at some point however they me be a little heaver of a read… Here are some pointers to get you started:
If you need to take money out of savings – say, to pay holiday bills – take it out of your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) in December. That way, you can put it back in 2019. If you wait to 2019 to withdraw, the headroom isn’t topped back up until 2020. [Flip side: Money taken out from RRSPs are taxable withdrawals. Push these withdrawals back to January, so they’re taxable in 2019.]
Review your debts. The interest paid on money used to earn business or generate investment income can be used as a tax deduction.
If you need to purchase a car or musical instrument for work, do so at the end of the year to enjoy the benefit of accelerated capital cost allowance claims.
Donate shares instead of cash. Not only do you get the charitable donation deduction, but by donating the shares you’re not subject to capital gains tax.
Check out this year-end tax planning checklist via pwc Canada.