An Easy Guide to Year-End Tax Planning

 With the end of the year fast approaching, tax planning is top of mind for many clients.  At The Center, we are proactive throughout the entire year when it comes to evaluating a client’s current and projected tax situation, but now is typically the time most people really start thinking about it.  We like to share this simple checklist that we feel is very user friendly and a good guide to evaluating your tax situation for the year.  Let’s be honest, does anyone feel like they don’t pay ENOUGH tax?  Most clients want to lower their tax bill and be as efficient with their dollars as possible. 

Questions to Consider

Here are some questions we ask clients that could ultimately help save money at tax time:

  • Are you currently maximizing your company retirement account (401k, 403b, Simple IRA, SEP-IRA, etc.)?
    • These plans allow for the largest contributions and are deductible against income
      • In our eyes, this is often the most favorable way to reduce taxes because it also goes towards funding your retirement goals! 
  • How are you making charitable donations?  Are you writing checks or gifting appreciated securities?
    • Gifting appreciated securities to charity allows you to avoid paying capital gains but still receive a charitable deduction – a pretty good deal if you ask me!
      • Donor Advised Funds are a great way to facilitate this transfer and are becoming increasingly popular lately because of the ease of use and flexibility they provide for those who are charitably inclined – take a look at Matt Trujillo’s recent blog on this great tool.

  • Should I be contributing to an IRA?  If so, should I put money in a Traditional or Roth?
    • These are fantastic tools to help fund medical and dependent care costs in a tax-efficient manner
      • HSAs can only be used, however, if you are covered under a high-deductible health plan and FSAs are “use it or lose it” plans, meaning money contributed into the account is lost if it’s not used throughout the year – take a look at the blog I wrote earlier this year that goes into greater detail on the advantages and disadvantages of HSAs and FSAs

This is a busy time of year for everyone.  Between holiday shopping, traveling, spending time with family, and completing year-end tasks at work, taxes can get lost in the shuffle.  We encourage you to check out the link we’ve provided that will hopefully give you some guidance with your personal tax situation.  Although we are not CPAs, tax planning is something we feel is extremely important.  We would love to hear from you if you have any questions or ideas you’d like to discuss with us!

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a Certified Financial Planner™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Nick currently assists Center planners and clients, and is a contributor to Money Centered and Center Connections.

Please note, changes in tax laws or regulations may occur at any time and could substantially impact your situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Raymond James financial advisors, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. C14-037860