End-of-the-Year Income Tax Checklist

Your upcoming tax return will not be all that you simply suppose it’s—particularly in case you suppose you will find yourself with an enormous tax invoice. The truth is, there could also be issues you are able to do to enhance your tax state of affairs. It is at all times a good suggestion to take time to do some last-minute strategizing earlier than the tax 12 months runs out. Test your self on these six key objects and you will be higher ready to deal with the tax-filing season. Our methods for last-minute tax financial savings might prevent cash. Needless to say you should use the following pointers any time of the 12 months so you do not simply have to think about them on the finish of the 12 months.

Key Takeaways

  • Know your submitting standing and what meaning in your eligibility for tax credit.
  • Ensure you have maximized your tax financial savings on retirement planning.
  • Attempt to squeeze some deliberate future medical bills into the present 12 months to maximise your tax financial savings in case your medical bills for the present 12 months border on the minimal threshold of seven.5% of your adjusted gross earnings.
  • Scheduling sure bills for the higher-tax–bracket 12 months is a smart tax-planning technique in case you anticipate a change in earnings tax brackets.
  • A tax planning skilled might help you decrease its impact in case you consider chances are you’ll be topic to the Different Minimal Tax.

1. Know Your Submitting Standing

There are a number of methods to file your taxes. Relying in your marital standing and dependent state of affairs, you may file as one of many following:

Every of those comes with completely different tax bracket earnings thresholds, commonplace deductions, and eligibility for sure tax credit.

2. Evaluate Retirement Contributions and Distributions

Take note of your annual contribution limits for employer-sponsored retirement accounts comparable to 401(okay)s and 403(b)s. For many staff, the restrict is $20,500 for 2022 ($22,500 for 2023). There’s a particular allowance for an extra $6,500 catch-up contribution for workers over the age of fifty. You may additionally be eligible to deduct contributions to a conventional IRA in case you meet sure situations.

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Ensure you’re taking the required minimal distributions (RMDs) out of your retirement account in case you attain the required age. You’ll be required to begin withdrawing on April 1 the 12 months after you flip 73. The principles are in impact as of Jan. 1, 2023, in line with the SECURE Act 2.0. In case you turned 72 between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2022, it’s essential to take RMDs starting April 1 the 12 months after you flip that age.


The age people had been required to take required minimal distributions earlier than the SECURE Act was handed in 2019.

3. Resolve: Itemized or Commonplace Deduction?

It is helpful so as to add up your potential itemized deductions earlier than the tip of the 12 months to plan whether or not you may itemize or take the usual deduction. In case your itemized deductions exceed the usual deduction in your tax standing, it’s best to itemize bills in your tax return.

This is the usual deduction quantity:

  • Single: $12,950 for 2022 ($13,850 for 2023)
  • Head of Family: $19,400 for 2022 ($20,800 for 2023)
  • Married Submitting Individually: $12,950 for 2022 ($13,850 for 2023)
  • Married Submitting Collectively: $25,900 for 2022 ($27,700 for 2023)

In case you plan to itemize your deductions, you’ll need to gather all of your backup paperwork in your eligible bills incurred all through the tax 12 months. 

4. Bunch Medical Bills in One 12 months

Chances are you’ll need to bunch medical bills into the present 12 months earlier than December 31 in case you plan to itemize. Itemized bills are solely deductible to the extent they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross earnings (AGI) for medical and dental bills. In case your AGI is $50,000 and you’ve got $7,000 in certified bills, you do not get to deduct $7,000 out of your taxable earnings. As a substitute, you may solely deduct the bills that exceed 7.5% of your earnings. Since 7.5% of $50,000 is $3,750, you may deduct $7,000 – $3,750, or $3,250.

It is higher to assert one thing than to overlook out on this deduction totally. So, November-December is an efficient time to take a look at your precise medical bills for the present 12 months and your anticipated medical bills for the upcoming 12 months.

In case you’re near crossing the 7.5% threshold for the present tax 12 months, transfer your purchases of eyeglasses, dentist and physician visits, surgical procedures, and different medical and dental bills to December to achieve a tax deduction, advises Scott M. Estill, writer of the ebook Tax This! An Insider’s Information To Standing Up To The IRS and a former senior trial legal professional for the Inside Income Service (IRS). Likewise, in case you have few medical and dental bills for the present tax 12 months, defer what you may till the following one.

Quite a few voluntary medical prices are tax-deductible, together with LASIK eye surgical procedure, doctor-prescribed weight-loss packages, smoking-cessation packages (however not patches or gum), and capital bills for ramps, railings, and different options put in in a house to accommodate disabilities.

You too can deduct mileage accrued driving to and from medical doctors, hospitals, and the pharmacy. For 2022, the usual fee for medical mileage is $0.18 per mile. The speed will increase to $0.22 for 2023.

5. Contemplate Subsequent 12 months’s Tax Brackets

Earlier than bunching bills collectively, taxpayers ought to think about their general tax brackets for this tax 12 months and subsequent 12 months, Estill says.

“For example, if I do know my earnings will go up subsequent 12 months and thus I will likely be in the next tax bracket, it could make sense to attend till subsequent 12 months to take the deduction as a result of it will likely be price extra to me as a share of my earnings,” he says.

If you can be within the 12% bracket in 2022 however could be within the 22% bracket in 2023, your deductions will likely be price extra in 2023. A serious tax bracket change may apply in case you had been, say, unemployed for a piece of 2022 however then began a brand new job, amongst different attainable situations.

“Likewise, if my earnings is predicted to go down subsequent 12 months, it could make sense to attempt to speed up the purchases into the present tax 12 months,” Estill provides. This might occur if you recognize, for instance, that you will retire subsequent 12 months.

6. Beware the Different Minimal Tax

The frequent recommendation to shift bills, comparable to prepayment of property or state taxes, from January to December to get the tax deduction a 12 months earlier can backfire if you find yourself being topic to the choice minimal tax (AMT). However what is that this tax?

Based on the IRS, “Below the tax regulation, sure tax advantages can considerably cut back a taxpayer’s common tax quantity. The choice minimal tax (AMT) applies to taxpayers with excessive financial earnings by setting a restrict on these advantages. It helps to make sure that these taxpayers pay at the very least a minimal quantity of tax.”

Figuring out if the AMT applies to you is hard and should require skilled tax help. If it does, you will have to rethink your tax minimization technique. “If you’re topic to AMT, the good thing about with the ability to deduct property taxes disappears. It might be extra advantageous to attend till subsequent 12 months to make the cost. Be sure to seek the advice of with a tax skilled earlier than you assume prepayment will lead to earnings tax financial savings,” says Estill.

The identical is true of state earnings taxes for the fourth quarter of the present tax 12 months that you simply may elect to pay in December as a substitute of January, he provides.

When Ought to I Begin Tax Planning?

Somewhat than scrambling to scale back your taxes in December, a greater technique is to seek the advice of with a tax skilled to develop an ongoing plan which you could implement over the course of all the 12 months. You may change it alongside the way in which in case your earnings or bills do not meet your predictions.

How Many Tax Brackets Are There?

There are at present seven federal tax brackets in the USA. Tax charges vary from 10% to 37%.

When Is the Required Minimal Distribution Deadline?

If you’re newly 73 in 2023, your first required minimal distribution will likely be due by April 1, 2024, and the second by Dec. 31, 2024. The later April 1 deadline solely applies to RMDs in your first 12 months. For all subsequent years, your RMD have to be taken by December 31. The outdated guidelines (beneath the SECURE Act) proceed to use in case you had been 72 on or earlier than Dec. 31, 2022. This implies your first RMD have to be taken the next April 1.

The Backside Line

Ideally, you shouldn’t wait till the tip of the 12 months to think about methods to reduce your tax invoice. For instance, leaving tax planning to the final minute may end up in missed deductions. In case you haven’t already, think about the methods and suggestions in our guidelines. Implementing those that apply to your tax state of affairs might lead to tax financial savings.