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Best of: The Safe Deposit Box, Our Friend

Another chest nut from the past, however, now with new rules, you will not be allowed to write off your Safety Deposit Box (next year starting March 31 2013 so in 2014) on your investments, keep that in mind!

The Safe Deposit Box, Our Friend

Safety Deposit Boxes

Safety Deposit Boxes

There are very few things in a bank I view as necessary, but one thing I do view as really important is my Safety Deposit Box. In my Safety Deposit box I keep bonds, an old stock certificate, and my wills. Why couldn’t I just keep those things at home? I don’t want to do that thanks. The advantages of a Safety Deposit box are many to me (my opinions follow):

  • I can write off the cost of my box rental as a carrying charge (in Canada you can do this), that’s good. I pay about $30 for the box, before my tax kickback on the write off.
  • This is OFF-SITE storage from my house. I should really put copies of my insurance policies in there as well, that way if someone breaks into my house or my house burns down (God forbid), I have a copy SAFE somewhere else. Might be good to put a home inventory in there too
    • I love writing in this blog, because many times I think of things while writing, I wouldn’t have!
  • The bank is more secure than my house ever will be. Safety of this information is really important, and someone else worrying about it, is one less thing for me to worry about.
    • Who is going to break into a bank and then find my safe deposit box, and then steal what is in it? Maybe someone reading my blog? Hope not :-).

These reasons are why I have a safe deposit box, and not a home strong box, or wall-safe to protect my important papers. No matter HOW you decide to protect your important papers and information, DO IT! Use a Safety deposit box, a strong box, a wall-safe, but keep those papers safe! It’s important. It’s all part of the Financial Plan.

 

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Love Week, Lent and Sunday’s Best

Valentine’s Day week was actually quite interesting for me. I learned a few things, including you should not leave roses out if you have a young kitten around (she destroyed an entire set). I also learned that people really love complaining about the price of bank services, as I learned when I cut loose on TD about their jacking up their fees for Safety Deposit Boxes and seeing the reaction from my readers (wow, didn’t know you folks were that passionate about your financial safe places). Maybe everyone has porno movies or dark secrets hiding in those boxes (as Hollywood seems to imply).

We also seem to be going into another European funk, with Greece spiraling further down the financial whirlpool. Let’s hope this does not keep up all year.

On my twitter feed I found some of my favorite “oldie but goody” posts, including:

Enjoy your Sunday, no video today, maybe I’ll find one during the week.

 

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Carrying Minimum Balance for Free Banking

I got an interesting comment yesterday to my “bitching” about the jump in service charge on the TD Safety Deposit Box, which got me thinking about another great trick the banks have devised, and that is the offering of “free” services if you carry a minimum balance in your bank account.

The comment almost seems from a TD employee (but that is only my guess), but the comment points out that if I was smart enough I’d just carrying the minimum balance ($5000) and then it would be:

“…  saving all these fees which would be similar to making the money in an investment….”

To me that is a staggeringly interesting leap of faith. By pinning down $5000 a year in an account which has a rate of return of 0.10% annually (that is from the TD web site) this is a great investment, because I have saved $60?

I think the author of the comment is also mistaken, since it isn’t really listed on the web site that the Safety Deposit Box Fee is waived for the Infinity account (it is for the Plan60 account and there was another one listed, which I can’t remember). I stand to be corrected, and I will be going into the bank next week and asking if this fee can be waived for the year (never hurts to ask).

Even more interesting is that I am not actually complaining about the Fee for the Safety Deposit Box (I Safety Deposit Boxes are a good idea if you want to keep your stuff safe remember The Safety Deposit Box: Our Friend ), I was complaining about the price hike, which was astounding. Yes, the fees for losing a key and getting your box drilled are penalties, which are your own fault (much like overdraft fees), but jumping the cost by 42% is a pretty big jump.

So the question I leave you good reader is this: Is leaving a large minimum balance in an account to avoid banking fees, really like investing that money?

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Dang: Almost Forgot Safe Deposit Box

Remember that your safe deposit box is no longer a valid carrying fee.

Yup, whilst doing the Great American Novel also known as my tax returns for my Family I went over last year’s returns to see what I had forgotten and sure enough from Line 221 leading to Schedule 4 in my return, I had forgotten to declare my Safety Deposit Box (again). I do this every year but this is why it is important to review your previous returns to see if you are forgetting things.

This may not seem that important but each of these small things really do add up in terms of money back from your taxes. What other things have I almost forgotten over the years?

  • Active child tax credits (and this year, if you are an Ontario resident, you get some there too).
  • Charitable donations, in general. Many of these get forgotten and if there isn’t a receipt (or you were given the receipt last April, and you forgot to file it), you can lose out on some easy refund money.
  • Moving Expenses, if you are a new grad and you moved to somewhere new to get a job, that is part of your taxes, and you should look into this. I forgot this on my first taxes (but back then we did it with pencils and forms, so I can be forgiven).
  • Rental costs if you are a student (or if you rent), remember that could add up depending on how much your income might be.
  • Actually filing your return!

Yup, I know more than a few folks, who have not filed their tax returns for the past few years. I am astounded that these folks haven’t, since they most likely are owed money by the government.

Don’t forget some of these easy credits or deductions and for gods sake, please file a return!

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Tax Time Soon

Obsolete Tax Advice

What is interesting, is when you write for long enough, tax laws change. Here is a perfect example, both of these tax credits are now gone. It may be tax time but you can’t claim them, however I leave them here for historical purposes. Maybe they will come back one day?

Child Tax Fitness Credit

Here is one to remember for those of us who either live in Hockey Arenas or Gymnasiums (or soccer fields) most of our days. The Child Fitness Tax Credit allows you to claim up to $500 per year for each child under 16 who is in an accredited fitness program (read the rules and regulations carefully here, evidently there already have been folks claiming that have been told their claim is incorrect).

One important point for me this year is the statement (taken from the web site):

The children’s fitness tax credit lets parents claim up to $500 per year for eligible fitness expenses paid for each child who is under 16 years of age at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid.

Since one of my daughters did turn 16 last year but AFTER January 1st, I can still claim her fitness credit for one more year (and that is nothing to ignore). I thought I had lost this for my daughter, but after careful checking of the web site, I am still good for one more year.

For most of us gifted with kids who are on teams, $500 is really only the start of expenses for a lot of sports, but it is not to be ignored either. 

Carrying Charges (aka Safety Deposit Box)

This is one I always almost forget, for those of you who like Paper and Pen methods, this is for line 221 of your return Carrying Charges and Interest Expenses .  The web page says:

Fees to manage or take care of your investments (other than administration fees you paid for your registered retirement savings plan or registered retirement income fund),including safety deposit box charges,

There it is in black and white, so make sure you claim it. What if you have a home safe? I have no idea where that might fit in this, but I do know that Safety Deposit boxes are covered. Anyone care to comment on whether they have claimed a home safe for this same deduction?

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