As we anxiously await the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Lipson on the scope of the general anti-avoidance rule and balances it against the Westminster principle that says taxpayers are entitled to legitimately minimize taxes, taxpayers and accountants must use existing regulations to advantage, says Vern Krishna, Tax Counsel with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Ottawa office.

Among the most distinguishing characteristics of the Canadian income tax system, says Krishna, is that it pigeonholes income into separate categories and subsequently applies distinctive rules to each category. This, in turn, makes it difficult for taxpayers to plan.

The simplest solution? For investors lucky enough to have capital gains, offsetting losses against the gains is a viable route. And, says Krishna, investors have until about the third week of December to prune portfolios and minimize taxes.