This is the deadline for contributing to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for the 2018 tax filing year. You generally have 60 days within the new calendar year to make RRSP contributions that can be applied to lowering your taxes for the previous year.
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There are some great reasons to open a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to save for your retirement. Here are the top 5 reasons to open an RRSP:
Contributions are tax deductible
You can claim your RRSP contribution as a deduction on your tax return and even carry forward unused space to a future year where you may have a higher income. All of this combined means that your retirement savings pot can grow even faster.
Savings grow tax free
You won’t pay any tax on investment earnings as long as they stay in your RRSP. This tax-free compounding allows your savings to grow faster.
Convert RRSP to receive regular payments
You are able to convert the money saved in your RRSP into a RRIF or annuity when your time comes to retire. You’ll pay tax on the regular payments you receive each year- but if you’re in a lower tax bracket in retirement, you’ll pay less tax.
Spousal RRSP can reduce your combined tax
Reduce your combined tax burden. If you are married and you earn more money that your spouse, a spousal RRSP may benefit you as you can add to their tax-free savings to build a joint retirement income which is likely to mean that you pay less tax in the long run.
Borrow from RRSP to buy your first home or pay for your education
You can borrow money from your RRSP under certain conditions
If you want to buy your first home (Home Buyer’s Plan) or pay for your education (Lifelong Learning Plan), you can take out up to $25,000 (HBP) or $20,000 (LLP) respectively from your RRSP to fund it without paying tax on the withdrawals (providing that the money is paid back within the specified time).
If you are seeking ways to save in the most tax-efficient manner available, TFSAs and RRSPs can both be effective options for you to achieve your savings goals more quickly. However, each plan does have distinct differences and advantages / disadvantages. Let’s take a look at their key features:
While a TFSA can be used for any type of savings, an RRSP is used exclusively for retirement savings.
You can enjoy tax free withdrawals from your TFSA due to the fact that you make your contributions after you have paid tax, whereas the opposite is true for withdrawals from your RRSP (except in the case of lifelong learning plan and home buyers’ plan)
TFSA contributions aren’t tax deductible whereas RRSP contributions are i.e. with an RRSP, you can deduct the contributions that you make from your income when you file your tax return.
It is required that you use earned income to contribute towards your RRSP but this is not the case for your TFSA.
You can continue to contribute towards your TFSA for as long as you like, whereas you must close your RRSP and stop contributing towards it when you turn 71 and purchase an annuity or convert it to a RRIF with the savings that you have made within the plan.
You are able to specify your spouse as your beneficiary with both your TFSA and your RRSP, however there is a key difference with how your savings are treated upon your spouse’s death. With an RRSP, there will be taxes payable upon the monies left in the plan by your children who inherit it, whereas with a TFSA, tax is only paid on the increase in the value of the plan since the date of death in the year that it is inherited by your children. What’s more, no tax is payable if the value that they receive is less than the value of the TFSA at the time of death.
In summary, your individual circumstances will dictate which plan is the most appropriate for you, depending on your tax position and withdrawal intentions. The primary difference between both plans is the timing of the taxes payable i.e. if you want to defer the payment of your taxes, particularly if your marginal tax rate will be lower in retirement, an RRSP may be more beneficial for you. Alternatively, if your marginal tax rate will be higher when you plan to make withdrawals, a TFSA may suit you better.
Now that we are nearing year end, it’s a good time to review your finances. 2018 saw a number of major changes to tax legislation come in force and more will apply in 2019, therefore you should consider available opportunities and planning strategies prior to year-end.
Below, we have listed some of the key areas to consider and provided you with some useful tips to make sure that you cover all of the essentials.
Key Tax Deadlines for 2018 Savings
December 31, 2018:
Fees for union and professional memberships
Investment counsel fees, interest and other expenses relating to investments
Student loan interest payments
Deductible legal fees
Some payments for child and spousal support
If you reached the age of 71 in 2018, contributions to your RRSP
January 30, 2019
Interest on intra-family loans
Interest you must pay on employer loans, to reduce your taxable benefit
February 14, 2019
Expenses relating to personal car reimbursement to your employer
March 1, 2019
Contributions to provincial labour-sponsored venture capital corporations
Deductible contributions to a personal or spousal RRSP
Family Tax Issues
Check your eligibility to the Canada Child Benefit
In order to receive the Canada Child Benefit in 2019/20, you need to file your tax returns for 2018 because the benefit is calculated using the family income from the previous year. Eligibility depends on set criteria such as your family’s income and the number and age of your children and you may qualify for full or partial amount.
Consider family income splitting
The CRA offers a low interest rate on loans and it therefore makes sense to consider setting up an income splitting loan arrangements with members of your family, whereby you can potentially lock in the family loan at a low interest rate of 2% and subsequently invest the borrowed monies into a higher return investment and benefit from the lower tax status of your family member. Don’t forget to adhere to the new Tax on Split Income rules.
Have you sold your main residence this year?
If so, your 2018 personal tax return must include information regarding the sale or you may lose any “principal residence” exemptions on the capital gains from the sale and thus make the sale taxable.
If you’re moving, think carefully about your moving date
If you are moving to a new province, it’s worth noting that your residence at December 31, 2018 is likely to be the one that your taxes are due to for the whole of the 2018 year. Therefore, if your move is to a province with higher taxes, putting your move off until 2019 may therefore make sense, and vice versa if you are moving to a lower tax province.
Managing Your Investments
Use up your TFSA contribution room If you are able, it’s worth contributing the full $5,500 to your TFSA for 2018. You can also contribute more (up to $57,500) if you are 27 or older and haven’t made any previous TFSA contributions.
Check if you have investments in a corporation
The new passive investment income rules apply to tax years from 2018 and you therefore need to plan ahead if the rules affect you. They state that the small business deduction is reduced for companies which are affected with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income, therefore the small business deduction has been stopped completely for corporations which earn passive investment income of more than $150,000.
Think about selling any investments with unrealized capital losses It might be worth doing this before year-end in order to apply the loss against any net capital gains achieved during the last three years. Any late trades should ideally be completed on or prior to December 21, 2018 and subsequently confirmed with your broker. Conversely, if you have investments with unrealized capital gains which are not able to be offset with capital losses, it may be worth selling them after 2018 in order to be taxed on the income the following year.
Estate and Retirement Planning
Make the most of your RRSP
– The deadline for making contributions to your RRSP for the year 2018 is March 1, 2019. There are three things that affect how much you may contribution towards your RRSP, as follows:
18% of your previous year’s earned income
Up to a maximum of $26,230 for 2018 and $26,500 for 2019
Your pension adjustment
Remember that deducting your RRSP contribution reduces your after-tax cost of making said contribution.
Check when your RRSP is due to end
You should wind-up your RRSP if you reached the age of 71 during 2018 and your final contributions should be made by December 31, 2018.
Make your personal tax instalments
If you pay your final 2018 personal tax instalment by December 15, 2018, you won’t pay interest or penalty charges. Similarly, if you are behind on these instalments, you should try to make “catch-up” payments by that date. You can also offset part or all of the non-deductible interest that you would have been assessed if you make early or additional instalment payments.
Remember the deadline for making a taxpayer-relief request The deadline is December 31, 2018 for making a tax-payer relief request related to the 2008 tax year.
Consider how to minimize the taxable benefit for your company car The taxable benefit applied to company cars is comprised of two parts – a stand-by charge and an operating-cost benefit. If you drive a company car, it’s worth considering how to potentially minimize both of these elements. The taxable benefit for operating costs is $0.26 per km of personal use, therefore you should make sure that you reimburse your employer where relevant, by the deadline of February 14, 2019.
Contact us if you have any questions, we can help.