• Andrew Cremé

6 Tax Minimizing Strategies for End of Year Returns

Updated: 7 hours ago

It’s been said, “People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.” We all can respect the idea of taxes and our patriotic duty, but we also would feel just as patriotic by paying a little less. This article will help think through some tax theme and look at five ways to minimize those taxes in 2022.

There are a few simple steps you can take to minimize the stress of tax season. For starters, being organized and proactive will greatly reduce your stress. File documents, tax forms, receipts, invoices, etc as you receive them and keep them in a secure place. Also, enlisting the help of a tax professional can also assist in reducing stress. A tax professional can also answer questions regarding tax strategies that may apply to you. This could result in major tax savings for you and your family. Below are 5 strategies to consider as you wrap up your 2021 tax returns and plan for your 2022 returns:

1) Funding Retirement Plans (401k, 403b, SEP, Simple IRA, etc)

Contributions limits will vary based on age and the type of plan you contribute to. For 401(k) and 403(b) plans the IRS increased the contribution amount to $20,500 for 2022. The catch-up contribution for participants aged 50 and older remains $6,500.

You might also consider making charitable gifts to loved ones. For 2022, you may gift $16,000 per person to as many people as you like without being subject to gift tax and IRS filings. This would reduce the value of your estate.

If you don’t have a Retirement Plan through work, you should consider funding a traditional IRA, or a Roth IRA. By funding a Traditional IRA you may receive a tax break by contributing up to $6,000 ($7,000 for those 50 and older) in 2022. You may be able to deduct some or all of your traditional IRA contribution from taxable income, depending on your income.

2) Tax Payment Strategies

If you pay federal estimated taxes in 2022, monitor your tax payments. This will help you ensure that you exceed 90% of your 2022 estimated liability or 100% (or 110% for certain taxpayers) of your 2021 tax liability to avoid underpayment penalties. Estimated tax payments are due quarterly and those dates are:

April 18, 2022

June 15, 2022

September 15, 2022

January 16, 2023

3) Maximize Health Savings Account (HSA) Contributions

You can contribute up to $3,650 for individual coverage and up to $7,300 for family coverage into an HSA for 2022. If you do not withdraw from your HSA account for current medical expenses, you can allow the account to accumulate (Remember that an HSA is not a “use or lose it” benefit). Once your balance is sufficient, you can invest the cash inside the HSA in and effort to generate more growth. (A great way to generate tax-free income in early retirement is to withdraw from the HSA prior year medical expenses. Be sure to keep detailed records)

4) Charitable Giving

There are many different ways to make charitable contributions. Gifting of highly appreciated stock is a great way to reduce taxes. As opposed to gifting cash, you can gift the stock and received an itemized tax deduction, and the charitable organization will not have to pay tax on the capital gain. You can then repurchase the stock with the cash you originally had intended on gifting and increase your cost basis in that holding.

5) Claim Tax Credits

There are a lot of IRS tax credits that reduce taxes, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. For tax year 2021, a low-income taxpayer could claim credits up to $7,728 with three or more qualifying children, $5,980 with two, $3,618 with one, and $543 if none. (For 2022, the credit rises to $6,935 for three or more kids, $6,164 with two, $3,733 with one, and $560 with none.)

The American Opportunity Tax Credit offers a maximum of $2,500 per year for eligible students for the first four years of higher education and the Lifetime Learning Credit allows a maximum 20% credit for up to $10,000 of qualified expenses or $2,000 per return.

There is also the Saver’s Credit for moderate and lower-income individuals looking to save for retirement; individuals can receive a credit of up to half their contributions to a plan, an IRA, or an ABLE account.

6) Consider Roth Conversions

This part may be confusing for many people who are looking for ways to minimize taxes. If you convert pre-tax funds in an IRA or 401k into Roth funds, you do end up paying the taxes now as opposed to in the future. Is it possible that could actually save you money in the long run?

Yes! If a couple was in a 15% ordinary income tax bracket today and at retirement they are projected to be in a 22% tax bracket, it would make a lot of sense to pay the taxes now at the lower rate so that the higher tax bracket never occurs.

Another reason to consider Roth conversions would be Social Security. When retired, Social Security can be taxable up to 85% depending on your income. If you have your income partially coming from a Roth instead of a pre-tax IRA or 401k, you may end up paying less tax on your Social Security income.

Lastly, with Medicare in retirement, if you have enough taxable income, there can be an additional surcharge and you end up paying a higher rate for the same Medicare insurance. If you go into retirement with Roth accounts, you may have an ability to avoid that Medicare penalty that people with only pre-tax accounts do not have.

Overall, these six surefooted ways to minimize stress and taxes in 2022 offer some great ideas for consideration. Talk to your advisor today to make sure you have a plan in place to address your specific situation and needs.

This material is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or a loss regardless of strategy selected. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person's situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we do not provide advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

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