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Year End Tax Tips

There are some basic tried and true tax planning tips that can be applied each and every year. While these may not be new and exciting, they are highly effective and proven to minimize your tax bill. Here is a brief highlight of the tax planning maneuvers you should still be considering for 2015:

  1. Defer Income: Income is taxed in the year it is received. If possible defer year-end bonuses from employers to 2016 if you feel that income will place you in a higher tax bracket in 2015. If you are self-employed you may consider delaying billings until late December so that the payments are not received until 2016. Also consider accelerating income into 2015 if you feel you will be in a lower tax bracket in the current tax year.
  2. Bunching Itemized Deductions: Consider paying real estate taxes due in early 2016 in 2015, pay medical bills ahead, or make charitable deductions earlier to enable you to get past the itemized deduction threshold in 2015.
  3. Charitable Deductions: You may wish to consider donating appreciated property (stocks or property) in lieu of cash. This may render you the double tax benefit of deducting the contributed asset at Fair Market Value and avoiding paying the capital gains tax on the built up appreciation.
  4. HSA: If eligible, consider setting up and contributing to a Health Savings Account. You may make a tax deductible contribution to a Self-Only HSA of $3,350 or a family HSA of $6,650 (plus an additional $1,000 if age 55+). You must have a minimum annual deductible of $1,300 in an individual plan or $2,600 as a family plan.
  5. Loss Harvesting: Offset capital gains on any sales of stocks or mutual funds by selling investments that you are holding as an unrealized loss. Gains are offset dollar-for-dollar against any losses and you may expense up to $3,000 over and above any gains.
  6. Maximize your retirement accounts:
  • You may put as much as $18,000 into your 401K - $24,000 if you are over age 50, and often your employer matches at least a portion. If you cannot afford to max amount try to at least contribute enough that will be matched by your employer.
  • Consider setting up and contributing to an IRA for 2015. An eligible taxpayer may contribute up to $5,500, plus an additional $1,000 if age 50 or older. Try to make the contributions as early as you can so the money begins to grow tax-free.
  • Self-Employed Keogh plans must be established by 12/31/2015 but contributions are not due until the filing deadline including extensions. The amount that you may contribute depends on the plan you choose.
  1. Check your Flexible Spending Accounts: Take a fresh look into your planned medical expenses and update your FSA to maximize its benefit.

Want to learn more? Lineweaver Financial Group is having a complimentary seminar on the tax landscape on Tuesday, November 10th at 6:00pm and Thursday, November 12 at 1:00pm. Click here to reserve your seat!

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