More tax reminders

Since I am doing my taxes here are some other important deductions you should remember (if they apply to you, of course) .

Transit Pass Credit

Remember if you take the bus (or your kids do), you can use the Public Transit Tax Credit . Remember if your kids use a bus pass the following as well:

Yes, you can claim the tax credit for public transit passes on behalf of your spouse, common law partner, and your children under the age of 19, to the extent that these amounts have not already been claimed.

So the expense is transferable as well, useful to know that one.

Education

Having a child in University means I can claim her tuition on my taxes, which is not a bad thing. Since this is the first year for me with this, it is important to get all the forms done right, so please read over the web page and such and make sure the student involved fills in all the forms to allow for the transfer of these credits to you. I am still muddling through this one and will keep you posted on my progress. 

The maximum tuition, education, and textbook amount transferred from a child (or fromeach child), is $5,000 minus the amounts that he or she uses, even if there is still an unclaimed part. Tuition, education, and textbook amounts that the student carried forward from a previous year cannot be transferred.

So $5000 max per child is another important point to remember. This is where the High Price of University comes back to help you a little.

Charitable Donations

Now is the time to rummage through your papers to find ALL the receipts that you so carefully stored away when they arrived (yes I am being sarcastic, about myself, I may one day take a picture of my home “work space” to show you just how cluttered and disorganized it is). Each one of these receipts is money back in your pocket, so make sure you find them all. 

I have a cross-reference method, since I use Quicken, I check in Quicken for my Charitable expenses and then go and hunt down the receipt (or send the charity a note asking for a duplicate).

Also make sure this is a valid charity, you can go on the CRA site to see which charities have had their Charity designations revoked.

Manual or Computer?

This is an interesting question I ask folks and sometimes get an interesting answer. I have been using various computer software to do my taxes ever since it was possible (I have a Math degree, not an Arithmetic degree), but I do know that Michael James on Money enjoys doing his taxes manually using forms and pencil.

Does anybody else use pencil and paper still? Do you use a service to make up  your taxes, and if so why? My taxes this year are going to be confusing, but still not complicated enough that I would pay to have someone else do it, but that may change in the future.


QuickTax Easy to use Software, Starting at $14.99

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Financial Olympics?

After watching athletes work hard to reach their goals, I feel invigorated to attempt new financial goals of my own (OK, that’s pretty lame, but I couldn’t figure out any other way to spin the Olympics into a post over the past two weeks).

Glad to see the Canadian Athletes compete and do the Canadian thing and not win too much and be boastful, we are a very polite nation.

Coming Financial Decisions

The coming week is an important one for me financially because I must make key decisions on how much, and when my severance package is to be executed, and what to do about my pension (whether to leave it in my company’s badly underfunded pension (last time I heard it was funded up to about 87%)) or take the money and run, with some severe tax implications)).

I am meeting with a Financial Planner today (who is also a Chartered Accountant), to hear his ideas on how to make my severance package run as long as it can, and to maximize it’s financial impact for me. Ideally, when I find a job soon, I can simply use it as a debt destruction vehicle, but I must plan in case I have issues finding a job, as well (remember Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst).

Mostly I am meeting with this gentleman, because it is free, as his services are being paid for (evidently he charges $175 an hour normally) by the Right Management team that I am dealing with. I’ll listen to anyone for free, doesn’t mean I will necessarily follow their advice, but I can listen easily for free.

Interesting questions that may come up:

  • Is it better to pay down debt quickly thus having less to deal with, or plan to simply service debt so that my liquidity stays sound?
  • Is it worth working at Home Depot in my spare time right now? The easy answer there is NO, not this year, because whatever I earn, I lose about 1/2 of, and we should be able to budget well enough to last that long.
  • Should I cash out of my company’s pension plan? Do I think they will exist in twenty years, and will the pension fund ever get back to 100% funding is the real question.

What other questions maybe need to be asked? I am open to suggestions here folks, any good questions, please pass on in the comments section.

Should be an interesting visit.

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In Search of Tax Deductions

After chatting with a parent at a basketball yesterday it struck me that there might be some folk who do not fully understand all of the tax deductions and features that are available to them, so here I give you a list (not exhaustive) of some of the deductions you should think about.

Children’s Fitness Tax Credit

This is the new one that a lot of folks may not remember this year. Up to $500.00 worth of fees that show your child in an athletic endeavour are deductible. The title of this section is a link explaining much more about this tax credit, that parents should take advantage of. Important to have a receipt for this.

Nope, if Johnny played the violin last year, that is not covered.

Other deductions?

Some other deductions you might want to think about if you are eligible for them:

  • Don’t forget daycare costs, if you both work you should claim those costs, and remember important things like summer camp also can be included in there as well. I cannot claim these as my wife’s income is insufficient to take advantage of these.
  • Safety deposit box, yup that is a carrying charge, that you can claim as a deduction on your taxes.
  • GST sales tax credit? You never know when that might kick in. My daughter got that last year for the first time, so that one is kind of cool.

Any other interesting tax credits that folks have run into, please comment on this.

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Hockey Day in Canada!

“Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s hockey night today…”

to paraphrase a Canadian icon, Stompin Tom. Today is officially Hockey Day in Canada and there will be hockey all day long on TV. There will be less shopping and more family bonding around the old TV and watching hockey. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood is sitting around the old black and white TV with my parents watching the Canadiens play. It seemed to be the one place where we would all BE on Saturday night. Enjoy the hockey all day long folks, and remember it’s a game!!

What does this have to do with Finances? Well remember that as of January 1st, when you enroll your kids in that hockey camp, or league you get a deduction for up to $500 per child for this activity. Now that’s something to remember folks.

RRSP RDSP TD RESP

Stompin Tom

How am I celebrating this hallowed day in Canada, you may ask? I am driving for 1/2 an hour to sit in a Gymnasium to watch my daughter play in a basketball tournament. Remember folks, do as I SAY not as I DO!

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