Checklists are a great tool for year-end tax planning so I’m writing to share two that we regularly use. Whether you’re a corporate employee, a business owner, or you are retired, it is likely that there are tax optimization opportunities to consider implementing before the end of the year. It is also likely that the optimization that is best for you is not the optimization that is best for your colleagues or friends. It may not even be the same optimization that made sense for you last year! It’s the variety and specificity of each strategy to the given situation that make a checklist so helpful to think through this process.
I’ve included links to the checklists below, but before reviewing them, please keep in mind these two points:
1) What’s best for your tax bill may not be what’s best for you
Our clients often hear us say, “don’t let the tax tail wag the dog.” In other words, don’t take action to reduce your tax bill that is going to make it less likely that you can achieve your big picture objectives. For example, there is no point in waiting to sell your company stock until after the new year to save on taxes, if the risk of holding that stock for two more weeks could potentially limit your ability to pay college tuition. Make tax (and all financial decisions) with the big picture top of mind.
2) No strategy is going to eliminate your tax bill
There is no holy grail of tax savings (but I will keep looking for it, so you don’t have to). While some strategies can amount to some substantial dollar savings, no optimization is going to zero-out the Benjamin’s owed to Uncle Sam. Tax optimizations most often amount to “a little savings” here and “a slightly bigger deduction” there each year that add up over time. The most important thing you can do is be aware of the strategies available and implement those that suit you best.
We review these checklists for our clients, and I encourage you to do the same with your own situation in mind. If you need help or have further questions about any of these please don’t hesitate to contact us:
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax or accounting advice. Please review with your tax and accounting advisor before engaging in any transaction.