As the year comes to an end, there are several tax-saving ideas you should take into consideration. Use this checklist to ensure you don't miss an opportunity before the year is over.
Retirement distributions and contributions. Make final contributions to your qualified retirement plan, and take any required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts. The penalty for not taking minimum distributions can be high.
Investment management. Rebalance your investment portfolio, and take any final investment gains and losses. You can use capital losses to net against your capital gains. You can also take up to $3,000 of capital losses in excess of capital gains each year and use it to lower your taxable ordinary income.
Last-minute charitable giving. Make a late-year charitable donation. Even better, make the donation with appreciated stock you've owned more than a year. You frequently can make a larger donation and get a bigger deduction without paying capital gains taxes.
Noncash donation opportunity. Gather up noncash items for donation, document the items, and give those in good condition to your favorite charity. Make certain you obtain a receipt from the charity, and take a photo of the items donated.
Gifts to dependents and others. You may give gifts to an individual of up to $14,000 per year in total. Remember that all gifts given (birthdays, holidays, etc.) count toward the annual total.
Organize records now. Start collecting and organizing your end-of-year tax records. Estimate your tax liability and make any required estimated tax payments.