Have a taxing holiday season!

Here’s a thought that sounds depressing but really isn’t: Holiday season is the perfect time to start thinking about your taxes.

Canadians who want to save money need to not only shop smart for Christmas presents, they need to shop smart for tax breaks, insists financial services company CIBC.

“With the holidays approaching, the last month of the year is very busy,” says says CIBC’s tax and estate planning expert Jamie Golombek. “But it’s also an important time of year to put tax planning strategies in place that can help reduce taxes for 2013. Instead of waiting until April to think about tax planning, now is the time when Canadian investors can take advantage of various year-end tax strategies, specifically designed to reduce their 2013 taxes. These strategies are easy for Canadians to implement, but they need to act before year end.”

CIBC has assembled a list of year-end tax strategies. The three easiest are…

  1. Prepare now for retirement
  2. Donate to your favourite charity
  3. Pay expenses by year end to be eligible for tax deductions and credits

Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, agrees with Golombek on both points: “Thinking about taxes now isn’t fun, but it is lucrative.”

Schwartz especially likes the idea of donating to charity now so you can deduct it from your taxes as soon as possible. “If you’re going to do something nice, do it now so you can take that deduction,” he says. “You’ll be doing something nice for the Christmas season – and the tax season!”

To further help Canadian get ready for tax season, Consolidated Credit has created the free publication

Taxes: Save Money, Solve Problems, which is full of great tips to get the most out of available tax breaks.

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