Working through the tax haze

You’re a natural number cruncher. But working through taxes can be challenging for non-accountants. Keep these 10 tax tips handy to help others navigate through the maze of tax shelters and exemptions.


  1. Plan for the future. As much as 18 per cent of earned income could be added to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) in 2014. The maximum contribution for 2014 is $24,270. Are you stashing away for next year?
  2. Maximize tax-free growth. Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) allow you to contribute as much as $5,500 annually.
  3. Think education. Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) contributions aren’t tax deductible or taxable when withdrawn for a child’s education.
  4. Think education again. Compile all tuition fee and education credits. As much as $5,000 can be transferred to students’ parents.
  5. Buy a home. Weigh the benefits of withdrawing from an RRSP to purchase a home. Individuals can withdraw as much as $25,000.
  6. Make business sense. Capitalize on family if you’re a small-business owner. Hire family members for work and write off the costs of their salaries.
  7. Capitalize on being a team. If you earn more than your spouse, use income splitting to help reduce your family’s combined tax bill.
  8. Make healthy decisions. Minimize the overall tax liability of medical expenses in your family by combining and/or distributing medical expenses between spouses in the most tax efficient way.
  9. Use all that you can. Take advantage of all eligible credits available.
  10. Donate and save. Maximize charitable donation credits.

*Top 10 Tax Tips was originally compiled by Jeff Buckstein, CPA, CGA. Check out other learning materials and articles on our Tax Portal.