Vancouver Sun

Five ways to kick-start tax saving

- JAMIE GOLOMBEK Tax Expert

With 2015 just underway, here are five things you can do this week to kickstart a full year of tax savings. Make your 2015 RRSP contributi­on Sure, we all know that the RRSP deadline isn’t until March 2 (the normal March 1 deadline falls on a Sunday this year so we are given an extra day), but that deadline is only really relevant for procrastin­ators. In other words, the RRSP deadline is the last day to contribute to your RRSP to claim a deduction on your return.

But, if you want to stay ahead of the game and have the funds to do so, why not make your 2015 contributi­on right now and enjoy a full 14 months of taxfree earnings and growth.

The amount you can contribute for 2015 is based on 18% of your “earned income” from 2014, which generally includes employment, business and net rental income.

Contribute another $5,500 to a TFSA The new year brings another $5,500 of contributi­on room to your TFSA, upping the total lifetime cumulative limit to $36,500. If you’ve yet to open up a TFSA, what are you waiting for? After all, there is really no reason anyone should have anything invested in a non-registered account if you haven’t maximized your cumulative TFSA contributi­ons.

Get your kids Canada Education Savings Grants If you’ve got minor kids, consider making your 2015 registered education savings plan (RESP) contributi­ons. By contributi­ng at least $2,500 for each child, you can take advantage of the 20% matching Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). If you are catching up and trying to collect prior years’ CESGs, consider contributi­ng $5,000 per child to the RESP so you can collect the annual maximum of $1,000 in CESGs per child.

Collect the 2015 RDSP Grants and Bonds If you are saving for someone in the family who qualifies for the disability tax credit and is under 60 years of age, then contribute to a registered disability savings plan (RDSP). Not only can up to $200,000 of contributi­ons grow tax-deferred, but, if the beneficiar­y is under 50, the RDSP may be entitled to receive up to $3,500 of Canada Disability Savings Grants (with a $70,000 lifetime maximum) and an additional $1,000 in Canada Disability Savings Bonds (with a lifetime maximum of $20,000).

Avoid a tax refund for 2015 Finally, if you regularly look forward to a large tax refund each year, you have two options. The first one is to update your Form TD1 “Personal Tax Credits Return” which is filed with your employer and lists the various credits which should be taken into account.

Your second option is to complete CRA Form T1213, “Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source” in which you list the various deductions that you plan to take when you file your 2015 return, such as your RRSP contributi­on, support payments, interest on money borrowed for investment or business purposes or childcare expenses. Mail it to the CRA, and, once it’s approved, you will receive back a formal authorizat­ion letter which you submit to your employer authorizin­g it to reduce the amount of tax withheld at source from each paycheque in 2015.

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