What Needs To Happen Before 12/31
As we approach the end of the year what things do we need to be thinking about? What HAS to happen before 12/31? We’ve created a list of these items that you can download at our website, but right now we are going to talk through each of these items.
STEPHEN SMALENBERGER, EA
Tax Planning: Create your tax return ahead of time. Do an analysis so there are no surprises.
Retirement Accounts: Contribute enough to get your free employer match or the maximum amount you can each year of $18,000 or $24,000, if you’re over age 50.
IRA Contributions: This can actually be done after year-end. But if you can contribute sooner the funds can be invested sooner.
Adjust Tax Withholdings: If you find after analyzing your return that you have under-withheld this is a great time to get caught up so you don’t incur a penalty when you file your return.
Charitable Donations: These can be cash, non-cash, stock, or household items
RMDs: For those over age 70 ½, or those who have inherited accounts from someone. There is a 50% penalty on the amount not taken by year-end.
Roth Conversions: This is moving money from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. You could do a partial amount, full amount, or none. But how much room is available in your tax bracket before you go over into the next bracket? An analysis can help see if this is an option.
Gain/Loss Harvesting: Balancing how much we have in gains or losses and equalizing it for tax strategy purposes. So if you have large gains, maybe you have positions at losses you can sell to neutralize the tax effect.
Medical Expenses: Have you met your deductible? Things that you might be doing in January, maybe bump ahead to December to increase the expenses you can deduct for taxes.
HSA Contributions: If you have a high-deductible health care plan and an HSA, this is a way to contribute money to pre-tax. Similar to the IRA you have until the following year to make this contribution.
Gifting: These are gifts to people rather than to charitable organizations. You can gift up to $14,000 per person per year. With your spouse you could do gift-splitting. This means that you can each give $14,000 per person, for a total of $28,000 per person per year.
FSA: “Use it or lose it.” These are funds that you have set aside to pay for a medical expense this year. If you don’t spend the money you lose it. Some plans have a grace period or an amount that you can carry over. Be sure your know the rules for your plan.
529 Plans: Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, you can use 529s to contribute for college expenses in the future.
This is a list of year-end tax planning items to review to make sure you have checked everything! Be sure to download your copy!
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I want to share two recent stories that have shaped some new thinking and understanding for how I think people view financial planning.
Steve enjoys getting to know clients and hear their unique stories and the lessons learned which has brought them where they are today. One of the reasons he enjoys what he does is the ability to show the outcome that can be achieved with different choices. He also enjoys continually learning.