Interview Opportunity - Five things everyone should know about RRSPs (and were afraid to ask)



    Common questions answered, and a link to free online tax tools

    EDMONTON, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - The post office and couriers will be busy for
the next few days as many of the six million Canadians who contribute to their
RRSPs scramble to meet the February 29 deadline. The tax team at Intuit Canada
is on the front line when it comes to RRSP questions, and noted these five
points worth sharing before the deadline.

    
    Home buyers need an RRSP foundation with their Home Buyers Plan - Many
Canadians dip into their RRSP savings (up to $20,000) to fund down payments.
The Government's Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a great way to get a leg up, but
repayments can be confusing.
    -   When withdrawing money from an RRSP for the HBP, you use money that
        has not been taxed. To avoid paying tax, you must repay the HBP by
        purchasing RRSPs over a 15-year period, or the government will
        consider it income and therefore tax you on it. Typically annual
        payments are the HBP amount divided by 15.
    -   You must specify whether RRSP contributions are for your HBP.
        QuickTax will automatically determine your HBP repayment and ask you
        whether you wish to make a HBP payment.
    -   HBP contributions do not count as part of the RRSP contribution for
        that year, so plan accordingly.

    Carry forward RRSP contributions - Most people know they can carry forward
RRSP contribution space, but RRSP contributions made this year can cut your
taxes next season. Contributions to your own or your spouse/common-law
partner's RRSP plan need not be immediately deducted. If your income in a tax
year is low, it may be better to carry forward the RRSP contributions and
claim them in a future year when your income is higher.
    -   QuickTax has an automated Carry Forward for returning users, which
        brings forward information from the previous year from both QuickTax
        and TAXWIZ software, in addition to any tax deductions not taken in
        the previous year. This saves time and effort, and reduces the chance
        of typing errors.

    Take advantage of uneven incomes - Often couples will have a significant
difference in their incomes. This gulf can be beneficial to both if they plan
RRSP contributions strategically.
    -   The spouse or common-law partner with the higher income should
        consider making the RRSP contributions, as he or she will benefit the
        most from the allowable deduction. This deduction is calculated
        according to the taxpayer's tax rate, and the higher the tax rate,
        the more beneficial the deduction.
    -   Also, consider making contributions to your spouse/common-law
        partner's RRSP if he or she has the lower income. When you withdraw
        funds from an RRSP at retirement, this income will be taxable to your
        spouse/common-law partner (payee), likely at a lower tax rate.
    -   QuickTax can assist couples to determine how much each should
        contribute to an RRSP through its RRSP optimizer tool, which is
        offered in all QuickTax products.

    More isn't always better - Most Canadians want to build their nest egg,
but RRSPs have their limits, so think carefully before over contributing, or
you could be subject to penalties.
    -   If you have over contributed, a tax of one per cent, per month may
        apply. However, if over contributions resulted from mandatory group
        RRSP contributions or from contributions that you made before
        February 27, 1995, you may not have to pay this one per cent tax on
        all your unused contributions.
    -   If you have an over contribution, obtain Form T1-OVP, Individual
        Income Tax Return for RRSP Excess Contributions, to calculate the
        excess contributions and the tax payable. QuickTax automatically
        highlights over contribution issues.

    Everyone likes an allowance - Retiring allowances, money paid under
certain conditions to employees when they retire, let you contribute amounts
to your RRSP in addition to the regular RRSP room determination based upon
earned income.
    -   If you are presently employed by the same company that you have
        worked for since and prior to 1996, you may be eligible for the
        benefits of a retiring allowance.
    -   Should you collect a retiring allowance, be sure to request an RRSP
        contribution receipt for it.
    

    More RRSP Advice? Look online!

    There are a number of free RRSP calculators and tax tools available to
use online that help Canadians confirm their RRSP strategies. Intuit Canada
offers a broad range of tax preparation software that all include the free
RRSP Optimizer, which analyzes tax situations and identifies money-saving
strategies. The built-in slider-bar instantly reveals the effect of different
RRSP contributions on net income, average tax rate, taxes owed or refund due.
    Intuit Canada's QuickTax Resource Centre is home to a range of free
planning tools, net worth calculators, a Q&A with a tax expert, and other
valuable information, all available at www.quicktax.ca/taxtools.

    About the RRSP Optimizer

    The RRSP Optimizer is a component of QuickTax. Available at
www.quicktax.ca, users can try the RRSP Optimizer for free by using QuickTax
online edition and pay only when they're ready to file. The RRSP Optimizer
empowers users to make smarter RRSP decisions. It analyzes each user's
individual tax situations and identifies money-saving strategies. The built-in
slider-bar instantly reveals the effect of different RRSP contributions on
your net income, average tax rate, taxes owed or refund due - so you can fine
tune your strategy.

    About Intuit Canada

    Intuit Canada Limited is a leading provider of business, financial and
tax management solutions for small- and mid-sized businesses, consumers and
accounting professionals. Key products and services include Quicken(R),
QuickBooks(R), QuickBooks(R) Succès PME, QuickTax, and ImpôtRapide(MC). Intuit
Canada Limited directly, or through its partners, offers ProFile(R), a
professional tax preparation software suite, the QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Program, the Intuit Developer Network for professional users and developers
and other products and services. Intuit Canada Limited and its partners enable
individuals, small businesses, retailers and financial professionals to better
manage their financial lives and businesses. Visit www.intuit.ca and
www.accountant.intuit.ca for additional product information. Intuit Canada
Limited is headquartered in Edmonton and has employees located in Calgary,
Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Intuit Canada Limited is a subsidiary of Intuit
Inc., and is listed on the Nasdaq stock market under the symbol INTU.

    QuickTax is the registered mark of LexisNexis Canada Inc., used by Intuit
Canada under license.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Cheryll Watson, Intuit Canada, (780) 450-5869, cheryll_watson@intuit.com;
Melissa Jacot, MAVERICK Public Relations, (416) 640-5525, ext. 238,
melissaj@maverickpr.com

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