Use this year-end checklist to minimize your tax liability and help you start 2023 off on the right financial foot.
Year-End Tax Planning Checklist
Taxes are inevitable, but overpaying doesn’t have to be. With the holiday season in full swing, taxes are likely the furthest topic from your mind. And while it’s tempting to put them on the back burner until January 1st or April 15th, doing so could increase your tax bill. There are several actions you can take before year-end to minimize your tax liability. Use this year-end checklist to help you start 2023 off on the right financial foot.
Income & Deductions
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the types of income you received in 2022 and potential deductions. Most year-end income and deduction forms will be made available no later than January 31st.
- Form W-2: This document outlines income earned from wages, salaries, bonuses, and tips.
- Form 1099-DIV: This form reports dividends and investment distributions.
- Form 1099-R: This form reports any distributions taken from various retirement accounts including annuities, profit-sharing plans, IRAs, insurance contracts, and pensions.
- Form 1099-INT: This document is used by financial institutions and other entities to report interest income paid. If you received interest of at least $10 throughout the year, you should expect to receive a copy of this form.
- Form 1099-MISC: This form outlines various forms of miscellaneous income, including rent, prizes, awards, healthcare payments, and payments to an attorney. If you were paid at least $10 in royalties, or $600 in miscellaneous income throughout the year, you should expect to receive a copy of this form.
- Form 1099-NEC: If you are an independent contractor, freelancer, sole proprietor, or self-employed individual, you will receive this form from any businesses that have paid you at least $600 during the year.
- Form 1095-A: This is the Health Insurance Marketplace Statement and it is sent to individuals who have qualified coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace carrier. Those who receive coverage from the Marketplace may be eligible for subsidized coverage or a tax credit.
- Form 1098: This document outlines any mortgage interest or property taxes paid over the previous year. It will be sent to you by your lender, if applicable. Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible expenses if you itemize.
- Form 1098-T: This statement reports any qualified educational expenses paid throughout the year. This includes tuition, fees, and required course materials. If you paid qualified educational expenses for yourself or a dependent child, you may be eligible for certain education tax credits.
- Form 1098-E: If you paid more than $600 in student loan interest throughout the year, you will receive this form. Student loan interest is an above-the-line tax deduction.
Aside from the income received from investments, there are several other ways investing can impact your tax liability. Consider the following:
- Tax Loss Harvesting: If you have unrealized losses in your taxable investment accounts, you may be able to offset the taxes owed on capital gains. If you have capital losses greater than your total capital gains, you can use the loss to reduce ordinary income by up to $3,000. Any unused loss can be carried forward to future years.
- Net Investment Income Tax: You may be subject to an additional 8% tax on net investment income if your modified adjusted gross income exceeds $200,000 for single taxpayers or $250,000 for married taxpayers. If you know you will be subject to this tax, consider deferring investment income to other years if possible.
- Rebalance Asset Allocation: Consider rebalancing your asset allocation if it is no longer in line with your investment objectives. This is particularly important if you have a concentrated equity position that may expose your portfolio to unnecessary risk.
- Stock Options and AMT: Certain investments, like incentive stock options, can impact your alternative minimum tax liability. It’s important to review this before finding yourself caught off guard during tax season. Be sure to consult a qualified financial professional if you have questions about AMT.
Planning for retirement is a great way to save for the future while also minimizing your tax liability. Here are some things to keep in mind as you head into the new year.
- Maximize Retirement Contributions: If you have access to a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan, maximizing your retirement contributions can save you on taxes. That’s because contributions are considered pre-tax and will directly reduce your taxable income at the end of the year. You can contribute up to $20,500 with additional catch-up contributions of $6,500 for those over the age of 50. Contributions must be made before December 31st to qualify for the 2022 tax year.
- Roth Conversion: Converting pre-tax funds to a Roth account can be a tax-efficient strategy if you are in a lower tax bracket than normal. Since the funds will be taxable in the year of conversion, do your due diligence when it comes to timing. Once funds are converted, they will enjoy tax-free growth and no required minimum distributions.
- Required Minimum Distributions: Once you reach age 72, RMDs must be taken from all qualified retirement accounts except Roth IRAs. You have until April 1st of the year following the year in which you turn age 72 to take your first distribution. Every year thereafter, you must take your RMD by December 31st. Be sure to stay on top of these, as the penalty is steep if you miss a distribution. The IRS will charge a 50% penalty on the amount that should have been taken.
Insurance is a commonly overlooked planning area that could have important tax benefits if reviewed before the end of the year.
- HSA Contributions: If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, you should have access to a health savings account (HSA). These accounts have triple tax benefits: (1) contributions are tax-deductible (2) earnings grow tax-free and (3) withdrawals are tax-free if used for qualified medical expenses. You can contribute up to $3,650 for individual coverage and $7,300 for family coverage in 2022.
- FSA Funds: If you’re not eligible for an HSA, your employer may have a flexible spending account instead. Contributions are tax-deductible and can be used to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Keep in mind that only $570 is allowed to carry over into 2023, unlike HSAs which have no carry-over limits. If you have more than $570 in your FSA, consider spending down the account before the end of the year.
- Healthcare Deductible: Have you met your healthcare deductible for the year? If so, consider incurring additional medical expenses before the end of the year, otherwise, your deductible will reset in 2023.
If philanthropy is something you want to incorporate into your overall wealth plan, there are many strategies that can be used to give to causes you care about while also reducing your tax bill. Consider the following:
- Gifting Appreciated Assets: Appreciated assets that have been held for longer than one year can be gifted directly to a charity and you will receive a current-year tax deduction. Not only that, but these assets would avoid capital gains tax if given directly to a charity instead of being sold first and the proceeds being donated.
- Bunched Giving: Thanks to the increased standard deduction, it can be difficult to receive tax benefits from donating to charity. Bunching multiple years’ worth of donations into one tax year can help you exceed the standard deduction threshold and make itemizing worth it.
- Qualified Charitable Distribution: If you are required to take RMDs but don’t necessarily need the money for day-to-day expenses, consider donating the funds to charity. QCDs allow donors to contribute up to $100,000 from a traditional IRA to a qualifying charity. The best part is these donations count toward your RMD but are not taxable to you.
- Donor Advised Funds: If you know you want to contribute to charity this year, but you’re not sure which charity or charities to choose, a donor-advised fund (DAF) may be the right choice for you. In this case, you would make a charitable contribution to the fund by December 31st. Depending on how much you contribute, it could qualify for a current year’s charitable deduction.
Small Business Owners
Small business owners have their own set of tax considerations to keep in mind:
- Qualified Business Income: A portion of your income may be considered tax-deductible if your business produces pass-through income and certain conditions are met.
- Control Business Expenses: Deferring or accelerating business expenses can be used as a tax-mitigation strategy. Consult with a tax professional for more information.
- Retirement Plan: If your business follows the calendar year tax year, consider starting a retirement plan before the end of the year. Certain startup costs may be tax-deductible.
Estate planning isn’t just for aging families. It can be used every year to improve your financial situation and potentially reduce taxes.
- Lifetime Gifting: If you want to make gifts to friends or family this year, you can give up to $16,000 per person gift-tax-free.
- 529 Plan: If you have a child or grandchild who is planning to attend college, consider contributing to a 529 plan. You can utilize the $16,000 annual exclusion to contribute money gift-tax-free. There is also a special election you can make to contribute 5 years’ worth of contributions all at once. That means you could give up to $80,000 or $160,000 if you are married and gift-splitting. Contributions are not tax-deductible, but they are gift-tax-free.
- Any Major Life Events: If you experienced any major life events, consider reviewing your estate plan and updating beneficiaries and estate documents. A change in marital status can also have a significant impact on your tax liability.
Do You Have Questions on Any of These Items?
Tax planning is not as simple as going down a checklist. This list is not comprehensive and should always be reviewed in the context of your overall financial plan. If you have any questions on the above considerations, or if you would like a second opinion on your current plan, Aviance Capital Partners is here to help. Click here to schedule a call or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation.
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