Eight Savvy Summer Tax Moves

Taxes

Eight Savvy Summer Tax Moves

Just because tax season is behind us doesn't mean we can - or should - forget about taxes until year-end.

July 20, 2015

Challenge yourself over the slower summer months to stay in the zone and tone up your tax strategy while it's fresh on your mind. Check out these exercises to help you keep your taxes in top form year-round. Just be sure to consult your tax and financial advisors first. Then you can truly enjoy your summertime plans, knowing you're in great shape for next tax season.

1. Lose the weight

Cut loose any investments that are weighing down your portfolio to offset gains from the winners (tax-loss harvesting).

2. No gains, no pain

If you sell an appreciated asset, you'll need to pay resulting capital gains taxes. You can use the proceeds or pump up savings. While you're at it, check out any capital losses you may have on the books, too.

3. Set a goal

Flex the power of your generosity by focusing your giving strategy on a specific location or single cause. A more organized and tax-efficient approach, perhaps through a donor-advised fund or other dedicated vehicle, could help you help others more effectively.

4. Get disciplined

Diligently track and review your deductible expenses, donations and mortgage interest, as well as any credits you're eligible for. Don't forget relevant documentation.

5. Dig deep

Getting married, having a child, sending one off to college? Make sure you understand how life changes can impact your tax bill.

6. Crunch your numbers

Withhold too much and you're giving the IRS an interest-free loan; too little and you'll owe. Find the number that's just right by using the withholding calculator at irs.gov* or discussing your W-4 with your tax pro.

7. Take it to the max

Push your retirement contributions to the limit. For 2015, you can add $18,000 to your employer-sponsored plan and/or $5,500 to an IRA. Over 50? Contribute more; ask your advisors for details. Bulking up your tax-advantaged savings trims your taxable income, too.

8. Find a trainer

You'll want a heavyweight tax pro in your corner. Don't have an accountant or tax attorney? Ask for a referral and get interviewing.

*irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator



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