As we approach the end of the year, it's a crucial time to review your financial strategies and consider steps to optimize your tax situation. Proactive tax planning can significantly impact your financial well-being. We recommend working with a trusted CPA and/or financial advisor to ensure that you are maximizing your tax benefits and keeping more of your hard-earned income in your pocket.
We’ve created a 2023 Year-End Tax Planning Checklist, to give you an idea of the main areas that you’ll want to carefully review before the start of the new year:
Review Income and Deductions:
- Assess Your Income: Estimate your expected income for the year. This includes salary, bonuses, investment income, and any other sources of income.
- Evaluate Deductions and Credits: Review potential deductions and credits such as charitable contributions, mortgage interest, medical expenses, and education expenses.
- Maximize Retirement Contributions: Consider contributing the maximum amount to retirement accounts (401(k), IRA, etc.) to reduce taxable income. Ensure you take advantage of catch-up contributions if you're eligible.
Capital Gains and Losses:
- Harvest Investment Gains and Losses: Offset capital gains by selling investments that have lost value (tax-loss harvesting). Be mindful of wash-sale rules when selling securities for a loss.
- Long-Term Capital Gains: Depending on your income bracket, consider holding onto investments for over a year to benefit from lower long-term capital gains tax rates.
- Review Estate Planning Documents: Assess your will, trusts, and beneficiaries to ensure they reflect your current wishes and circumstances.
- Gifts and Charitable Contributions: Take advantage of gifting strategies to reduce the value of your estate. Consider charitable donations or setting up trusts for loved ones.
Business and Self-Employed Individuals:
- Small Business Deductions: Evaluate deductions and expenses that can be claimed for your business. Consider purchasing necessary equipment before year-end to take advantage of Section 179 deductions.
- Estimated Taxes: If you're self-employed, make sure you've paid enough in estimated taxes to avoid underpayment penalties.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs):
- Maximize Contributions: Contribute the maximum allowable amount to HSAs and spend any remaining funds in FSAs before they expire at year-end.
- 529 Contributions: Contribute to 529 plans for educational expenses and take advantage of potential state tax deductions.
- Review Tax Law Changes: Stay informed about any recent tax law changes that might impact your tax situation.
- Consult a Professional: Seek advice from a financial advisor or tax professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific financial situation and financial objectives.
Remember, tax planning is a year-round endeavor, but working with your financial advisor to take proactive steps before the year ends can significantly impact your tax liability and financial well-being, and ensure that your tax planning strategies align with your individual circumstances and goals.
Sathya Patterson, CFP®, CDFA®, CSRIC®, AIF®, MBA
Arise Private Wealth
Palos Verdes, CA