Step #1: Gather your receipts
Chances are, you’ll have some downtime during the holidays. Use this time to gather your receipts and statements so they’re in one place when you’re ready to actually do your taxes. Now is also a good time to look over your statements and assess how you did in 2011. Did you meet your goals? Are you happy with where you’re at? Where do you want to be in 2012?
Step #2: Boost charitable donations
The cutoff for charitable donations is December 31st. Take advantage of the current holiday season and give more to charity. The more you give, the more you’ll get back in the form of a tax credit.
Step #3: Top up your registered accounts
December 31st is the deadline to top up your Registered Education Savings Plan and your Tax-Free Savings Plan. You still have until the end of February to contribute to your RRSP’s. If you make less than $50,000, you’ll get more value in focusing on your savings on the TFSA before putting your savings in an RRSP.
Step #4: Reduce income tax deductions from your paycheque
If you make the same RRSP contributions, you can fill out a T1213 form and have your employer reduce the amount of income tax deducted from your paycheque. This way you’ll get your “return” throughout the year.