As a public accounting firm, we prepare hundreds of personal tax returns each year, mostly in March and April. Due to the volume of returns prepared and the timing of preparing personal returns after the tax year has ended, it is often difficult to provide timely tax advice to our clients and generally, this can only be done on a prospective basis. Once the calendar turns to the new year, your personal tax planning options for the previous taxation year are mostly limited to RRSP contributions.
Because of this, I recommend making an appointment with your tax professional before the end of the calendar year to review your personal tax situation for possible tax savings solutions that can be implemented before the end of the year.
For example, if you were thinking of making a charitable donation in January, it may be advisable to make the donation before the end of the calendar year to accelerate the tax credit claim. Or you may consider selling an investment holding with losses before the end of the year to offset capital gains from the current or previous three years. Keep in mind that for a loss to be claimed on your 2019 tax return, the investment will likely need to be sold a few days before the end of the calendar year.
Tax planning strategies can be more effective when prepared in advance.