I’m sure no one thinks about taxes in December like I do. There are a few items you need to take care of for your 2014 taxes that will be filed in a few months.

Before I share some tax reminders, I promised to share some information with my readers about funeral costs. As many of you know, my mother passed away in July and I wasn’t happy with the funeral home’s fee for just the basic cremation service: $2800. So when my father passed away on November 23, I called another funeral home: Mosaic Funeral Center on Nairn in Winnipeg. Their cost: $1300. Yes, that is $1500 less! For the exact same service! Birchwood Funeral Centre in Steinbach is also a reasonable price if you prefer a more local business.

So back to some tax tips that need attention before December 31st.

Medical expenses you can claim on your income taxes are normally for the calendar year, so if you already have lots to claim, maybe top up by filling prescriptions, eye exam and glasses, dental work, etc.

Start organizing all your medical receipts. Instead of all those little prescription receipts, just go to your pharmacy in the new year and ask for a printout that will have all of them listed. You ensure you have all of them and much easier for us tax preparers too! Keep that 2014 calendar! If it has all your medical appointments listed, this is the information you need to determine your medical travel. The appointment needs to be more than 40 km from your home and for a service you could not have received closer (mostly specialists in Winnipeg). If you are more than 80 km, then you can claim a $17 meal too and accommodations. Keep all the receipts for you children’s activities � sports and other activities are now a tax credit on your tax return (Children’s Fitness Credit and Children’s Arts Credit). And for Manitoba residents, the 16 to 24 year olds can claim a Manitoba Young Adult Fitness Credit. Keep your paystub from the end of the year; compare it to the T4 you receive. It’s also good to keep for proof of payment: if you pay for some of your disability insurance, and you go on claim for disability income, you can deduct what you paid (but only if you have the proof!). Charitable Donations need to be done by December 31st to count on your 2014 taxes. Remember you can donate shares or mutual funds to a charity and have the capital gains taxes waived. Check out Link Charity to make it easy (or call me and I can help with the paperwork).

Remember the First Time Donor’s Super Credit. If you or your spouse has not donated in the past five years, you get extra credits for being generous on donations (up to $1000).

If you are in a low income year or you are doing some tax planning (I meet with many clients now for 2014 tax estimates), you may want to take money out of an RRSP if you are in a low tax bracket and it may be higher in the future or credits or benefits may be reduced because of future RRSP income.

If you have been contributing to a spousal RRSP and you are 55+, you may want to start doing it in December instead of February. You need to wait two full calendar years before withdrawals can be made and taxed in your spouse’s hands.

Check out my blog: SteAnneTaxServiceBlog.com for more financial tips and information. Or if you missed a previous article, they are archived at annimarkmann.ca.

Merry Christmas! Take pleasure in the company of family and friends. I wish you all a healthy and successful 2015.

Anni Markmann is a tax professional working, living, and volunteering in our community. Contact Annir at 204-422-6631 or anni@steannetaxservice.ca or 36 Dawson Road in Ste Anne.