Perhaps that cash is already spoken for. Many Canadians are struggling financially proper now, so a bonus or wage enhance would possibly merely assist cowl the rising value of dwelling or create a little bit of respiration room in your finances. However when you’re maintaining with month-to-month obligations like hire, mortgage funds, family payments and loans, you will have some flexibility in the way you allocate these bonus bucks—together with saving in the direction of your monetary targets.

“12 months-end bonuses are very thrilling and tempting,” says Reni Odetoyinbo, a monetary influencer in Toronto who shares cash recommendations on her web site, Reni, The Useful resource. “I like to take a look at all my targets for the 12 months and see if something wants topping as much as resolve how I spend the bonus.” (Learn her Q&A with MoneySense.)

Are work bonuses taxed?

Earlier than you begin divvying up your {dollars}: Know that bonuses are taxed like your different wages, so you might not obtain as a lot as you suppose. Your employer may also deduct Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions and employment insurance coverage (EI) premiums, except you’ve reached your CPP and EI maximums for the 12 months. 

If you happen to don’t want that bonus cash immediately, you could possibly have your employer switch it instantly into your registered retirement financial savings plan (RRSP), when you have RRSP contribution room. No federal or provincial taxes shall be withheld.

“In fact, the RRSP cash is probably going going to be saved away for a long term, so when you have some extra instant wants, these are essential to think about,” says Odetoyinbo. On that observe, beneath are 5 concepts for easy methods to spend a piece bonus, plus hyperlinks to suggestions and sources for every one.

Bonuses, RRSPs and taxes

Most workers get their bonus in February, a element that issues with regards to submitting your taxes. “Employment earnings—wage or bonus—is taxable when paid,” says Jason Heath, a Licensed Monetary Planner and MoneySense columnist. “So, a February 2024 bonus is taxable in 2024, though it might be tied to 2023 efficiency by the worker or the corporate.” 

This could create an unlucky mismatch, Heath notes. “Asking your employer to deposit your bonus on to your RRSP may end up in your full pre-tax bonus being invested immediately. However be careful. If you happen to do that within the first 60 days of the 12 months, you get to assert the deduction in your earlier 12 months’s tax return. However the bonus is taxable within the 12 months that it’s obtained. Until you do that yearly, you could possibly find yourself with a tax refund one 12 months, however a steadiness owing the subsequent 12 months.”

Utilizing this 12 months’s bonus for example, Heath says that when you direct your February 2024 bonus into your RRSP pre-tax, you’ll get an RRSP receipt for 2023. This might end in a tax refund for 2023; nonetheless, the earnings shall be taxable in 2024, with no tax withheld. 

1. Repay bank card payments and different high-interest money owed

You probably have high-interest debt on bank cards or a line of credit score, paying it down with a lump sum may prevent lots of of {dollars} in curiosity funds, notes Odetoyinbo. “A fee to your 19.99% bank card debt is likely one of the greatest returns you may get.”

If you happen to’re carrying a steadiness on a number of playing cards, use confirmed methods to pay it down, akin to switching to a low-interest bank card or steadiness switch bank card—each might help gradual the buildup of curiosity. You might additionally discover consolidating your debt right into a single fee plan. 

2. Pay down your scholar debt

Do you continue to have scholar debt hanging over your head? If you happen to aren’t carrying any money owed that cost greater curiosity (like bank card debt), take into account placing your bonus towards your scholar mortgage. For the 2021–2022 tutorial 12 months, the typical Canada Scholar Mortgage steadiness on the time of leaving faculty was $15,578, based on Employment and Social Growth Canada. It additionally notes that debtors usually repay the cash over 9 and a half years—think about slashing that by a 12 months or two. 

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