There are some financial tasks/duties that should be considered all year, but are sometimes left to the last minute. Tax planning is a good example; it is always a good idea to review the possibility of paying less taxes if you act before December 31st.
1) Do you have an opportunity for tax loss selling? – if you have triggered some capital gains this year, it may be an opportune time to sell a ‘loser’ that you have been holding onto for some time, hoping it will rebound. Trades are now settled in two business days instead of three, therefore, the trade date must be no later than December 27, 2017, to complete settlement by December 31, 2017. Capital losses may be applied to gains in the current year, one of the three previous years, or carried forward indefinitely.
2) Charitable donations – if you donate securities or mutual funds ‘in kind’, you receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of the investment, and you also eliminate any capital gains tax you may have had to pay on redemption.
3) Convert your RRSP to a RRIF by December 31 if you turned 71 this year. If you have a younger spouse, you can use your contribution room after 2017 to make spousal RRSP contributions until December 31 of the year that your spouse turns 71. You could also take advantage of over contributing to your RRSP in December if you have earned income in 2017 that will generate RRSP contribution room for 2018. CRA will apply a penalty of 1% on the amount of the over contribution (above the $2000. limit) for the month of December, but in January 2018 the over contribution disappears and you can deduct the amount on your 2018 tax return.