This time of year, figuring out last-minute ways to save on taxes is on everyone’s mind. However, in order to keep your end of year holiday season still (relatively) stress free, you can focus on a few key to-do’s to make a big financial impact next filing season.
Charitable giving is, of course, one of the many low-hanging fruits that are ripe for picking when it comes to reducing your taxable income. In general, charitable donations made in 2021 are 100% tax deductible for taxpayers who itemize deductions due to changes in deduction limits during COVID-19. However, you can also look to donate appreciated stock to offset capital gains taxes, property, or other non-cash assets to help lower your tax bill. Also, you might consider increasing contributions in one year to qualify for itemizing, and take the standard deduction in the next year if that applies to you.
This strategy, used to offset large capital gains in your portfolio, entails selling off investments that have had a capital loss. Even if you don’t have enormous capital gains to cope with, selling off investments at a loss can also help to offset taxes against your ordinary income (up to $3,000 for married couples filing jointly in 2021). You can also “carry forward” these losses to offset future gains next filing season.
Of course, if you’re required to take a distribution from your retirement account, it may feel inevitable that your taxable income will increase. However, by performing a year-end roth conversion, you may be able to minimize the amount of taxable savings you have throughout retirement.
Another creative option for taking your RMD and minimizing taxes might be to take a QCD instead of an RMD. A Qualified Charitable Distribution is exactly what it sounds like - instead of taking your RMD as part of your taxable income for the year, you instead donate your required distribution to a qualifying charitable organization. For this to work, you must make the QCD transfer directly to the Charity from your IRA, and before you take your RMD. This can both help to support a cause you’re passionate about, and reduce your tax liability during next filing season, assuming you don’t need your RMD as part of your annual cash flow.
If you are still working, it goes without saying that the best way for you to reduce your tax bill is to maximize your contributions! Contributing to your workplace 401(k), and your HSA or FSA can make a notable difference! It’s also a good time of year to check to make sure that you’re continuing to contribute the allowable maximum amount going into next year, as contribution limits change. Per the IRS, new contribution limits to 401(k)s are $20,500 for 2022.
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"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.