Three ways the everyday Canadian can save money in a recession
All four can be used as part of a broader tax strategy that can save thousands of dollars over the long run. It can get complicated depending on your individual circumstances, so it might be best to discuss them with a qualified advisor or tax professional.
JANUARY 1: TFSA CONTRIBUTION LIMIT EXTENSION
Canadians who have contributed the maximum amount to their Tax-Free Savings Accounts will be permitted to contribute another $6,500. Ottawa has raised the annual TFSA extension limit from the usual $6,000 as the result of a formula that factors in inflation.
If you withdrew money from your TFSA in 2022, that contribution space can also be reclaimed in the new year.
There is no contribution deadline for a TFSA. Allowable contribution space can be carried forward to future years for the vast majority of TFSA holders who don’t contribute the maximum amount.
Over-contributions can result in penalties from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), so it’s important to keep track.
The TFSA is an ideal investment vehicle because those contributions can be invested in just about anything, gains are never taxed, and you can withdraw funds at any time.
MARCH 1: RRSP CONTRIBUTION DEADLINE
Registered Retirement Savings Plan contributions can also be invested and grow tax-free in just about anything, but if you want to deduct them from your 2022 taxable income you must contribute by March 1.
Tax savings are based on your personal marginal tax rate, so the more income you generated in 2022, the bigger the savings.
Canadians love to get those RRSP refunds in the spring but it’s important to know RRSPs are fully taxed when they are withdrawn; ideally at a low tax rate in retirement.
If your income was low in 2022, a TFSA contribution could be a better option.
If you want to contribute to both your TFSA and RRSP, consider contributing to your RRSP before the March 1 deadline and putting the refund in your TFSA.
APRIL 1: THE LAUNCH OF THE FHSA
It’s no April fool’s joke. The federal government is making good on its election promise to help new homebuyers save for down payments through the First Home Savings Account.
Starting April 1, first-time homebuyers under 40 years old will be allowed to invest up to $40,000 total or up to $8,000 each year toward the purchase of a home with no tax on contributions or withdrawals.
It’s the best tax perks of an RRSP and TFSA and can also be invested in just about anything. That means contributions can result in a tax refund like a RRSP, but contributions and gains are never taxed and can be withdrawn at any time like a TFSA.
If funds held in a FHSA are not used for a home purchase by the age of 40, they can be converted to normal RRSP savings.
APRIL 30: INCOME TAX DEADLINE
There’s no way for individual Canadians to avoid the dreaded income tax deadline but there are ways to steer tax dollars into your investment portfolio.
If you make an RRSP contribution before the deadline and want the refund by spring, don’t forget to deduct it from your taxable income when you file ahead of the April 30 deadline.
Also, don’t forget to include any other deductions or credits you or your spouse have accumulated throughout the year.
TFSA contributions are not tax deductible.
Be sure to include all income received during the year including capital, dividend or income gains from non-registered (not RRSP or TFSA) investment accounts.
If you suffered capital losses on the sale of investments in a non-registered account in 2022, they can be applied against capital gains going back three years or going forward indefinitely.