It’s hard to believe 2015 has come and gone. With key tax filing deadlines fast approaching (see table below), your tax advisor will no doubt soon be contacting you to request what seems like a myriad of information. As you’re gathering your tax information it is also a good opportunity to take stock of your finances by examining your net worth and revisiting your financial goals to see if you are on track. In particular, with more recent market volatility and the new liberal government tax changes, a detailed review may be in order this year. Did you resolve to save more and spend less in 2016? If so, a good place to start is by looking at your current financial situation in order to answer some of those nagging questions you may have been putting off….
By reviewing your finances, you may find that there are tax deductions and credits you have been missing that can free up cash flow. An analysis of your investment portfolio may point out some simple tweaks you can make to tax optimize your portfolio thereby improving overall investment returns. Reviewing your regular contributions to your RESPs may help you ensure you are maximizing the available CESG (Canada Education Savings Grant), which is as much as $500 per year. And by doing the math to answer the question as to whether to pay off your mortgage or top up your RRSP, you may finally understand whether in your situation the benefit of less non-deductible mortgage interest outweighs the benefit of the tax savings and investment returns from your RRSP contribution.
As with anything, a clear plan and ongoing monitoring are essential to keep you on track. Time has a way of catching up on you, and before you know it you’ll be looking back at 2016. So as you are gathering your tax information, consider making this year, the year you resolve to follow through on your financial resolutions and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals.