With 2010 rapidly coming to a close, here are some items you may want to knock off your personal finance to-do list:
Tax-Loss Selling & Crystallizing Capital Gains
If you realized capital gains in the current year or in any of the previous three years, you may want to offset some of those gains by triggering capital losses in your portfolio. If you received no other income this year, you may want to consider increasing the adjusted-cost base of your holdings by selling securities in which you have capital gains. The deadline for tax-loss selling and crystallizing gains for the 2010 financial year is December 24.
The last day to contribute to or withdraw from a Tax-Free Savings Account for the contribution or withdrawal to count for the current financial year is December 31. Note that any unused portion of the 2010 contribution room will be carried over into the New Year.
If you are unhappy with your current TFSA institution, now is an ideal time to execute a TFSA December Shuffle. You can avoid transfer fees by withdrawing the entire balance in your current TFSA account, opening a new account in another institution in the New Year and contributing the withdrawn balance back. You’ll also get an additional $5,000 contribution room in the New Year.
RESP, RDSP and Charitable Donations
The last day to contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan and receive a 2010 Canada Education Savings Grant is December 31. While you can receive CESG for previous years, the maximum regular grant in a calendar year is $1,000.
December 31 is also the last date to make a contribution to the Registered Disability Savings Plan and receive disability savings grants for the current financial year. If you are considering making charitable donations, you may want to do it on or before December 31 and receive a receipt for the current financial year.
See also: 5 pointers for investors at year end by Larry MacDonald.