As 2017 comes down to its final few months, it’s time for adults to start thinking about how they need to file their taxes come April. There are lots of small ways you can take advantage of the tax system and save the most money possible if you’re vigilant and make plans now that will come to fruition once you begin to file your earnings and expenses.
Here are some of the best ways you can ensure a nice little windfall of cash come federal refund time.
To itemize or not to itemize?
By and large, taxpayers choose not to itemize and to take the standard deduction for all their tax-deductible activities, and by and large, that’s a good option to take for the sake of time and tedium. However, under certain circumstances, you may be better off itemizing. For example, if you’ve taken out a mortgage three or so years ago, you may have finished paying off the interest on the loan and begun paying on the house itself – that transition is a huge deduction opportunity.
If you choose to itemize, go all in: Going through the pain of itemizing all your tax deductions means that you know exactly what you have to do to max them all out. Move up any major medical procedures so that they count towards your deduction where you can. Make all the charitable contributions you intended to make sooner rather than later. Try to do any major home renovations to make your house more energy efficient before Christmas. As it’s feasible, take advantage of all the hard work you’ve done and hit those deductions hard.
Wait On Bonuses
We all love that big check at the end of a year from a company to thank employees for a job well done. However, for the sake of your taxes, it may be smarter to ask your HR department to hang onto those bonuses until after New Year’s Day. This will make the biggest difference if you’re right on the precipice of a tax bracket jump and a hefty bonus will put you over the edge.
Withdraw Your RMD
The federal government will slap you with a mighty penalty tax of up to 50% if you fail to take the appropriate deductions from your IRA or 401K after you’ve retired. If you’re over seventy years old, it’s imperative that you take the required minimum withdrawal prior to the new year, whether you actually need the money or not.