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Tax planning needs to be a year-round process, not simply twice a yr

Tax planning shouldn’t happen simply earlier than the deadlines. It must be way more proactive than that

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At the moment of yr, there’s no scarcity of “year-end tax-planning ideas” that present up in articles, social media feeds and your electronic mail. It’s like clockwork: such articles magically seem from about Nov. 1 till Dec. 31 yearly. And related articles on “tax planning” will as soon as once more begin showing round mid-February of the next yr and finish after the April 30 private tax submitting deadline. This previous week, I obtained fairly a couple of of some of these articles on my feeds, together with three on Nov. 1 alone.

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Whereas these articles are nicely intentioned — and I actually don’t begrudge the authors for writing them — they frustrate me. Why? Properly, it’s easy. Like most vital issues in life, tax planning shouldn’t happen simply earlier than the deadlines. It must be way more proactive than that (as I stated in my ebook, Making Life Much less Taxing).

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Sure, checklists might be an vital reminder to make sure you don’t neglect issues, however they shouldn’t be an alternative to good general planning. Sadly, many Canadians don’t method it that manner. The Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 and Feb. 15 to April 30 tax-planning articles usually situation those that these are the one instances of the yr to plan. For my part, that’s not appropriate.

Let’s use a automobile as an analogy. A car is a big buy merchandise for many Canadians, and consists of ongoing prices corresponding to insurance coverage, gasoline and repairs. So as to protect the worth and use of the car, correct and often scheduled upkeep is an effective observe. The issue, after all, is that often scheduled upkeep might be costly and on this day of age of rising prices, it usually will get put apart in favour of paying different payments. Tax planning is like that.

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For many, taxes are by far the biggest annual expense that they pay. The typical Canadian household spends extra of its annual revenue on taxes — 45.3 per cent — than they do on primary requirements corresponding to meals, clothes and shelter mixed (35.6 per cent), in keeping with a current Fraser Institute examine.

Take up that info for even a minute or much less and it turns into apparent that taxes deserve ongoing planning and vital consideration, not simply throughout the predictable two instances per yr when planning articles seem and one is bumping up in opposition to submitting or different deadlines.

With that in thoughts, right here is my drastically simplified Anti-12 months-Finish Tax Planning Guidelines. It’s vital to know — because the fourth level reemphasizes under — that this guidelines is to not be carried out solely twice per yr. It’s to be carried out no less than month-to-month all year long.

1. Work out how a lot in general taxes (together with revenue tax, GST/HST internet of credit, carbon tax internet of credit, property taxes and different taxes) you pay per yr. Sure, a few of it will require estimates, however it’s vital to attempt.

2. As soon as computed, do some self-reflection. Has this opened your eyes considerably? What share of your general household revenue do tax funds symbolize? When you’re comfy with the outcome or it hasn’t shocked you, then perhaps there’s nothing additional so that you can do. In case your eyes at the moment are open and also you’re involved, then begin enthusiastic about the way you may have the ability to cut back your tax publicity.

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3. Albert Einstein is commonly quoted as having stated, “The toughest factor on the planet to grasp is the revenue tax.” I believe he was appropriate. And should you do too after making an attempt to determine how you can estimate and mitigate a few of your taxes, then take into account hiring a tax skilled that will help you determine it out. Most Canadians’ tax conditions are fairly easy. However should you’re coming into into extra tax complexity, then it might doubtless be definitely worth the funding to rent an expert that will help you perceive your place.

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4. Lastly, and that is vital, don’t depart your planning till the 2 instances a yr when all these articles come out.

And there you could have it, my Anti-12 months-Finish Tax Planning Guidelines. Tax planning is a year-round train. As famous above, the biggest expenditure — by far — for the common Canadian household is tax. Give it the eye and year-round consideration it deserves. You’ll profit from an excellent understanding of how a lot you pay. Higher but, identical to your automobile buy, you may then assess whether or not you’re getting good worth on your cash.

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Kim Moody, FCPA, FCA, TEP, is the founding father of Moodys Tax/Moodys Non-public Consumer, a former chair of the Canadian Tax Basis, former chair of the Society of Property Practitioners (Canada) and has held many different management positions within the Canadian tax neighborhood. He might be reached at [email protected] and his LinkedIn profile is


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