September again – and time to get serious about tax planning for 2013!Ian Whiting
2013 is nearly ready to head into the history books with less than 4 months left before 2014 – and it is time, once again, to revisit your annual tax planning checklist!
If you haven’t already been making regular deposits to your TFSA for 2013, now is the time to get busy. Unlike RRSPs, TFSAs operate on the calendar year – there is no 60-day contribution period. The annual limit for 2013 is $5,500 and every Canadian taxpayer age 18 or over can get one. No earned income necessary – parents can loan or gift funds to a dependent to open the plan and no attribution rules will apply. Seniors may want to consider moving investments from other non-registered (OPEN) accounts into TFSAs to reduce the impact of investment income on the OAS claw-back formula.
If you are considering a significant contribution, now is the time to put things in place so that you get all of your tax receipts for the 2013 tax year. For first-time donors, remember there is a significant enhancement to the tax credit available for you!
Eligible Medical and Dental Expenses
If you need major dental work, consider getting it done before year-end – just as TFSAs and Charitable Contributions work on a calendar year basis, so does the Medical Expense Tax Credit. For prescriptions that would normally renew in January, get a 3 or 4-month refill in December to maximize the credit in 2013. Travel Medical coverage premiums can also be used in determining this credit along with your personal medical or dental premiums – pay them annually before year-end to get the biggest credit.
Investment Advisory Fees (excluding those for Registered Accounts – RRSPs, RRIFs, etc.)
Provided all of the requirements of the Income Tax Act are met, investment advisory fees for non-registered (OPEN) accounts may be tax deductible. Check with your advisor and if they are normally paid in January, it may be to your advantage to pay them in December.
I know it is still a bit early to consider this tax-tactic but it does make sense to begin having these conversations with your investment advisor/mutual fund representative and tax-planner. While it isn’t possible to time the market effectively, you should plan any such sales in the unemotional, cold light of day, not in a hurried and hap-hazard fashion on the last trading day of the year!
There are other things to consider, but these are ones that apply to a very high percentage of tax-payers!