02/28/2013 10:30 EST | Updated 10/02/2013 09:20 EDT

RRSP Deadline 2013: When To Donate, If You Can Donate

If you're looking to get a tax break on your 2012 income, keep in mind that RRSP deadline day in Canada is March 1.

For many of us, getting the spare cash together to make any donation at all may be easier said than done. The Canadian economy continues to muddle along, defying analyst expectations with a slight uptick in the GDP in 2012.

Evidence of a persistent slowdown, however, is mounting. And, along with it, consumer fears.

January inflation hovered around its lowest point in more than three years -- a testament to increasingly retail-shy Canadians, along with an uninspired holiday shopping season.

Statistics Canada is widely expected to tell us Friday what many analysts already suspect -- growth of less than one per cent in the final months of 2012.

”That’s the worst two-quarter stretch since the 2009 recession,” National Bank of Canada economist Krishen Rangasamy told The Huffington Post Canada last week.

“So this just tells you the Canadian economy is stagnating in the second half of last year.”

Well, at least Canadians are helping to prop up the GDP with plastic.

The Epoch Times reports that we've added some $9.7 billion USD to the country's GDP over the last four years thanks to debit and credit card purchases.

So, about that RRSP donation...

If you've managed to squirrel away enough funds in this economic environment to make one, congratulations.

Now what do you do with those hard-earned savings? An interest-earning savings account fits the bill for many people, but hardier investors wade into the stock market. According to The Canadian Press, 24 per cent of eligible tax filers contributed to an RRSP in 2011 with an average of $5,778.

The Canada Revenue Agency outlines how your contribution limit is determined. The most you can deduct from your 2012 taxes, however, is set at $22,970. But that number can grow, depending on whether you used all of your limit for the years 1991 to 2012.

The Globe and Mail outlines a number of RRSP investment options, including GIC ladders (guaranteed investment certificates), mortgage pools that make the most sense when investing big sums, mutual funds, and dividend paying stocks. They all come with their own risks, of course -- and will bring varying degrees of sleeplessness.

Here are a few more dates to keep in mind, courtesy of, as we ring in the season of taxation:

April 30, 2013 -- Final day for filing income taxes from 2012.

April 30, 2013 -- Also the due date for filing and remitting Goods and Service Tax / Harmonized Services Tax (GST/HST) for the prior quarterly reporting period. That's just for businesses. Not personal taxes.

(Applicable to businesses, not personal tax.)

June 15, 2013 -- CRA tax deadline for self-employed persons to file their personal income tax return. Any balance owing must be paid by April 30, 2013.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Which Parts Of Canada Have The Highest Household Debt? See Gallery