After doing my income tax return last year I discovered that I had to pay $60 to the government. It was the first time in my entire life that I had to pay taxes rather than get a refund. That was disappointing.

I just did my tax return for 2009 just a few days ago. I was kinda dreading the result because I was afraid I’d have to pay again. It turns out that I’m getting a refund again. It’s a pretty sizeable one, well over a thousand dollars. I’m still not exactly sure why it was different this year. I bought the same amount of RRSPs as last year. I also know the federal government made a few changes this year to give citizens bigger tax breaks. It’s my belief that the biggest help came from two things. First, I reported some capital losses on some stocks I had to liquidate. I bought shares in two companies around 2000 or so. The shares are now worthless so I lost several hundred dollars with that foray into trading. Second, I believe buying an apartment helped me out too. I was eligible for the First-Time Home Buyers tax credit which amounted to $750 (non-refundable). It’s good to know that going into debt several hundred thousands of dollars gave me a one-time, non-refundable tax credit of less than a thousand dollars.

There’s a lot I could do with my refund but I’ve already decided I’m going to use it to pay down my mortgage. That’s a very responsible thing to do and it makes me feel like I might be a grown-up in no time.

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