It may sound crazy, but there are all kinds of moves you can make this time of year to pay less when you do your income taxes. We’ve compiled 12 year-end tax tips below. For most of the savings, you’ll need to itemize your deductions. It’s a little more work, but it could mean a bigger tax refund. Just follow these steps and start saving.
Tip 1: Add
Add money to your retirement plan, if you can, to lower your taxable income. For the 2019 tax year, you have until April 15, 2020, to set up a new Traditional or Roth Individual Retirement Account or add money to an existing one.
Tip 2: Subtract
Take money away from your Flexible Spending Account (FSA). In other words, spend FSA money on eligible expenses like glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids. You may be able to carryover $500 into next year, but then again, you may not. Use it, so you don’t lose it.
Tip 3: Give
Donate money to a qualifying charity. Keep bank records and documentation from the organization with the date and amount contributed.
Tip 4: Take
Take clothing and household items like furniture, furnishings, electronics, and appliances to a charity as a donation. Help others as you help yourself. You can deduct the fair market value (what they’re worth now, not when you bought them) of your donations.
Tip 5: Buy
Purchase necessary equipment and supplies if you’re a business owner. Business expenses are deductible in the year they are purchased.
Tip 6: Sell
Unload those loser stocks or mutual funds to offset the capital gains that will add to your taxable income.
Tip 7: Check
Check your health insurance status. If you need to enroll or re-enroll in state or federal Marketplace plans for next year, you can do so until December 15 for coverage starting January 1. Even though there is no longer a tax penalty for not having health insurance, you should still seriously consider having healthcare coverage, just in case you need it.
Tip 8: Double-check
Double-check your withholding. With tax reform creating new income tax brackets, you need to make sure you’re not having too much or too little taken out of your paycheck.
Tip 9: Pay
If you’re in school, pay next semester’s bill now, if possible. You can claim your payment on your 2018 tax return.
Tip 10: Pay again
If you’re self-employed and pay estimated taxes, pay your outstanding balance this month.
Tip 11: Hire
A professional tax preparer will make sure you get all the deductions you qualify for.
Tip 12: Fire
Light a nice, toasty fire in the fireplace, and relax. After you’ve done all of the above, you deserve a break.