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Maximize your 2008 tax savings and get a head start on 2009 with these 10 tips
Expert advice from CIBC's Jamie Golombek helps Canadians save tax all
    year roundTORONTO, March 31 /CNW/ - With the April 30th tax filing deadline in
sight, it's time for Canadians to break out last year's receipts and their
calculators. To help taxpayers take advantage of the savings opportunities
that may be available to them on their 2008 and 2009 returns, CIBC's Managing
Director of Tax and Estate Planning, Jamie Golombek, offers ten key tax tips
for Canadians.
    "Changes to the tax rules each year make it important to double-check
what new savings opportunities you may be eligible for," says Golombek. "While
each individual's situation is different, there are some tax-effective
strategies everyone should consider using."Tips for your 2008 return

    1.  File on time - While most Canadians must file by Thursday, April
        30th, self-employed individuals and their spouses or partners have
        until June 15th, 2009 to file a return. Keep in mind that those owing
        tax must pay the remaining balance by April 30th to avoid paying a 5%
        penalty on unpaid balances and an additional 1% each month thereafter
        to a maximum of 12%.

    2.  Report all capital losses - Be sure to report all your capital
        losses, even if you can't use them in 2008. That's because capital
        losses can be carried back up to three years or carried forward
        indefinitely to help reduce or eliminate tax on capital gains in
        those years.

    3.  Claim charitable donations - If you and your spouse or partner made
        charitable donations in 2008, consider pooling them in one of the
        spouse's or partner's return when filing to take advantage of higher-
        rate credits. All donations under $200 are credited at 15% federally
        plus between 4% to 11% provincially while donations over the $200
        threshold are eligible for a 29% federal credit plus 11% to 21%
        provincially (ignoring additional provincial surtax savings, where

    4.  Look into pension splitting - If you received pension income in 2008
        and your spouse or partner is in a lower tax bracket, you may wish to
        split up to half of your pension with him or her. Aside from
        benefiting from your spouse or partner's lower rate of taxation, you
        may also be able to preserve some or all of the age credit and avoid
        the Old Age Security benefits clawback with this strategy.

    5.  File tax returns for minors - Minors with earned income from part
        time jobs, or even casual employment such as babysitting or yard
        work, should file tax returns to begin establishing RRSP contribution
        room for use in future years.

    Tips for 2009

    6.  Plan not to receive a refund - It may come as a surprise, but the
        receipt of a large tax refund in the spring means you have loaned
        your own money to the government, interest-free, for up to sixteen
        months. To pay less tax all year round, complete a Form T1213 from
        the CRA which, once approved, will enable your employer to reduce the
        amount of tax withheld at source.

    7.  Consider renovating your home - For 2009 only, homeowners may be able
        to claim a new 15% non-refundable tax credit known as the Home
        Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC). The HRTC can be applied to renovations
        of 'an enduring nature' costing more than $1,000 to a maximum of
        $10,000. Check to make sure your planned renovation is eligible for
        the credit before you commence and remember only expenditures made
        after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010, will qualify for
        the 2009 credit.

    8.  Contribute to an RRSP, RESP, TFSA or RDSP - Canadians now have up to
        four special accounts in which to invest in a tax-deferred (or tax-
        free in the case of TSFAs) manner: a Registered Retirement Savings
        Plan, a Registered Educations Savings Plan, the Tax-Free Saving
        Account and a Registered Disability Savings Plan. Each plan offers
        unique benefits and tax-savings opportunities to eligible investors
        making it worth examining to see if one or more are a good fit with
        your overall financial plan.

    9.  Convert non-deductible debt to tax deductible debt - Make your
        interest expense tax-deductible by paying off non-deductible debt
        with non-registered funds and then borrowing back for investment

    10. Try using a spousal loan strategy - Income splitting is the practice
        of shifting income from the higher income spouse or partner to the
        lower income spouse or partner to reduce taxes. Income splitting via
        a spousal loan lets a spouse loan funds at the prescribed interest
        rate, which drops to an all-time low of 1% on April 1st, to a lower-
        or no-income spouse or partner and report the net profit in the lower
        income spouse or partner's hands."Now more than ever Canadians are looking for ways to save. Tax
preparation season is the perfect time to review your finances and identify
potential tax savings opportunities," says Golombek. "If you're unsure of what
tax savings might apply to you, consult a financial professional for help."

    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,