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The race is on: trim your taxes in time for 2009

    CIBC's Jamie Golombek provides year-end tax advice for Canadians

    TORONTO, Dec. 2 /CNW/ - For most Canadians, the weeks leading up to the
holiday season are chaotic enough without the added stress of thinking about
your annual tax filing. While it is tempting to put off tax-planning until the
spring, by then it may be too late to realize a variety of 2008 tax-savings
    "Even though its four months ahead of the filing deadline, December is
the best time of the year to evaluate what tax breaks you may be eligible for
and adopt a strategic approach to tax-planning," advises Jamie Golombek,
Managing Director of Tax and Estate Planning for CIBC.
    "While each individual's financial situation is unique, there are a
number of simple and effective strategies all Canadians could consider using
to maximize their tax savings before the end of the year," says Golombek.
"Given new savings options and changes to certain tax policies in 2008, it's
worth a talk with your financial advisor to make sure you're aware of the
savings opportunities available to you."Golombek offers the following tax-planning checklist to discuss with your
financial advisor:

    1) Maximize RRSP contributions - It's especially important to those who
    are in their prime earning years to start saving for retirement now.
    RRSPs offer investors tax deductions on contributions and tax-deferred
    savings on all income and growth generated until you start making
    withdrawals. If you turned 71 earlier this year, you only have until
    December 31st to make your final RRSP contribution and convert the plan
    into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or an annuity.

    2) Explore other registered savings options - RESPs remain the single
    best way to save for a child's post-secondary education, as recent
    enhancements resulted in both more time and additional room to
    contribute. RESPs also offer investors the opportunity to supplement
    their savings with a number of government grants.

    3) Turn interest payments and losses into gains - If you have investments
    which are in an accrued loss position at year end, consider selling them
    before December 31st to realize those losses and offset capital gains
    elsewhere. Additionally, interest charged on loans used to purchase
    non-registered investments must be paid by December 31st to claim a tax
    deduction for 2008.

    4) Pursue income-splitting strategies - Income splitting is the practice
    of shifting income from the higher income spouse to the lower income
    spouse to reduce taxes. One strategy is to split pension income with a
    lower-income spouse or partner. Additionally, a spouse can loan money to
    a lower income spouse or partner for investment purposes, charging the
    CRA's prescribed rate, currently set at only 3% and the spouse will
    include the net profit in his or her income. The higher income spouse
    must only record in income the interest charged. This is commonly known
    as a 'spousal loan strategy.'

    5) Donate and benefit from tax credits - December 31st is your last
    chance to make a charitable donation and receive a tax credit for 2008.
    Under recent changes to the rules, Canadians can now donate securities,
    mutual funds and other qualifying, publicly-traded investments to charity
    and pay no capital gains tax on any accrued gains. Consider making a
    donation online if you're pressed for time to receive an electronic

    6) Don't wait for your refund - Contrary to popular belief, a hefty tax
    refund received in the Spring is actually a sign of poor tax planning; it
    means you've loaned your money to the government on an interest-free
    basis for up to a year. Consider completing the CRA's Form T1213 before
    December 31st, which enables your employer to reduce the amount of tax
    withheld at source (taking into account deductions such as RSP
    contributions or child care expenses) starting with your first January
    2009 pay cheque.Looking ahead to 2009, consider the advantages of opening a Tax Free
Savings Account where contributions can be made beginning January 2, 2009. The
TFSA could become an integral part of your overall savings and investment plan
as it lets investors set aside money in eligible investment vehicles without
paying tax on the income and gains earned within the TFSA on contributions up
to $5,000 per year. Beat the rush by pre-registering for a CIBC Tax Advantage
Savings Account today.
    "Try thinking about tax-planning as a continuous, year-round activity
which evolves over time - not a dash to cram in filings at year's end,"
Golombek adds. "Be aware of tax factors affecting you, your family and your
business and work with a professional to develop a long-term approach which
addresses tax situations now and down the road."

    CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11
million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of
products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network,
branches and offices across Canada, in the United States and around the world.
You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press
Centre on our corporate website at

For further information:
For further information: Doug Maybee, Director, External Communications
and Media Relations, CIBC, Tel: (416) 980-7458,