As we approach the end of a memorable 2020, I thought I would share some tax tips that may help your 2019 tax liability as it pertains to your non-registered investment portfolio. Many of these tips are time sensitive and must be executed before December 31st.
Tax Loss Selling
In a year where equity markets were extremely volatile there may be certain investments in your portfolio where the market value is below the adjusted cost base. In this case, if you were to sell this investment before the end of the year you would trigger a capital loss. This loss could be used to offset any capital gains realized during 2020. If there were no gains in 2020 you can carry this loss back up to 3 years to offset capital gains from these previous years. Be sure to discuss this with an advisor to ensure you avoid “superficial loss” rules.
Maximize your Contribution to your Tax-Free Savings Account
The contribution limit for 2020 is $6,000. You may have contribution room from previous years – as of January 2020 every Canadian who was 19 or older in 2009 when the program was launched has $69,500 in contribution room. If you have TFSA room, you can move investments from a non-registered account into a TFSA but be aware that this transfer is considered a deemed disposition in your non-registered account and could trigger taxable capitals gains. A capital loss claim that occurs upon deemed disposition via transfer to a TFSA would be denied by CRA.
RRSP Contributions for those turning 71 this year
You have until March 1st to make RRSP contributions that would be eligible to deduct against your 2020 income. Making contributions earlier allows you to take advantage of tax-deferred growth.
Your RRSP matures the year you turn 71 and must be converted to a RRIF before the end of the calendar year. Once it becomes a RRIF no further contributions are allowed. If you do turn 71 in 2020 and you have earned income, it may be worth your time to make an over-contribution in December of 2020. There will be penalties associated with the contribution above the $2,000 over-contribution buffer, however once the calendar flips to January 1, 2021 your contribution room will increase based on your 2020 earned income. It will be critical for your advisor to assess your 2020 earned income figure so the over-contribution penalty tax only applies for December of 2020. The penalty tax is calculated based on 1% of the excess contribution per month. The additional tax savings from the RRSP deduction for 2021 will likely materially exceed the assessed penalty. If this over-contribution strategy is not used, the contribution room created via 2020 income will be lost.
The lifetime contribution limit for an RESP is $50,000. Only the first $2500 contributed will receive the full 20% Canada Education Savings Grant or $500. A full $2500 lump sum contribution before Dec 31, 2020 will attract the full grant for 2020. If you have contribution room from previous years you can catch up by making a $5000 contribution in the calendar year and receive $1000 in CESG. Be aware, that any amount over $5000 will not attract the grant even if there is contribution room from previous years.
You can contribute to a registered charity by December 31, 2020 and receive a donation credit for the 2020 tax year. Any eligible amounts given above $200 will be eligible for the higher federal credit rate of 29%.
Another option to making a cash donation is donating securities with an unrealized capital gain. The advantage of this strategy is this in-kind disposition is tax exempt and you receive a charitable receipt for the fair market value of the security at the time of donation. Be sure to consult your advisor when considering this strategy.
Senior Financial Planner
Assante Capital Management Ltd.
Assante Capital Management Ltd. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.
This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above, please make sure to see a professional advisor for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances.
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