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Ways To Reduce Your Tax Bill

Kaylynn Smith - Friday, April 21, 2017
The following article written by Brian Acton of credit.com advises of ways that next year’s tax bill can be decreased. A lot of my friends were surprised by the amount of money that they would have to pay this year so I figured finding out some new tips would be quite helpful for the year ahead: 

11 Ways to Reduce Next Year’s Tax Bill 

If you claimed the right number of dependents and standard deductions on your 2016 federal income tax return and you still ended up owing the IRS, you’re probably looking to avoid a repeat performance next year. Luckily, there are several ways to increase your chance for a refund (or at least reduce the amount you’ll owe) and you don’t have to be a tax whiz or accountant to take advantage. 

Here are 11 ways you can pay less in federal taxes for your income return next year:

1. Contribute to a 401K or IRA: Contributing to a retirement fund is an important way to ensure financial independence in your golden years

2. Buy a Home: There’s a distinct tax benefit to home ownership. The interest you pay on your mortgage is tax-deductible, and the interest is front-loaded. For the first several years, most of your mortgage payment goes toward interest, which will drastically reduce your adjusted gross income at tax time. Want an extra boost for your taxes next year? Consider paying January 2018’s mortgage payment in December to get a tax benefit before the end of the year. 

3. Donate to Charity or Volunteer: You probably know charitable donations can be itemized and deducted from your income, so you’ll want to save receipts anytime you donate cash or items to charity. You can even deduct miles you travel for volunteering or other charity work. 

“Miles you travel on behalf of a charity are deductible at 14 cents per mile for 2017,” said Gail Rosen, CPA. 

4. Start a Home Business: Starting a home business can provide you with a new source of income and allow you to take deductions off any income the business generates. 
These deductions include business costs you incur throughout the year, a portion of your mortgage and utilities if you use a home office and the cost of goods needed to keep your business running. You can even deduct startup costs. 

“Any expenses that are incurred before the first sale are ‘start-up costs,’” Rosen said. “These costs cannot be deducted until the first sale. Then they are deducted over 15 years and you can deduct the first $5,000 in the first year.” 

5. Search for a New Job:If you hunt for a new job in your field this year, you can write off some qualifying expenses as you search. There are exceptions, but potential write-offs include things like clothes or travel. 
“If you looked for a new job in 2017, you should be aware of the income tax deduction that may be available with respect to job-search costs,” Rosen said. “Qualifying expenses are deductible even if they do not result in a new job being offered or accepted.” 
6. Open a Flexible Spending Plan: Many employers offer flexible spending plans that let you contribute toward yearly medical expenses pre-tax. These contributions typically don’t count toward your taxable income. 

7. Deduct Medical or Dental Expenses: Many medical and dental expenses are tax-deductible. According to Rosen, the cost of getting to and from medical treatment is deductible at 17 cents per mile, plus the cost of tolls and parking, and dependent expenses are also deductible. 

“If you cover the medical cost of dependents, these can be deducted. Additionally, if you are covering the costs of an individual who would qualify as your dependent except that they have too much gross income — for example, an elderly parent — you may be able to deduct these costs as well,” said Rosen. 

8. Education-Related Expenses: Current and former students have many eligible deductions and credits related to their education expenses. Paid student loan interest and tuition and fees can be claimed as deductions. Eligible current students can also access the American Opportunity Credit, which can cover up to $2,500 annually for four years, and the Lifetime Learning Credit, which can cover up to $2,000 per tax return. 

9. Install Solar Energy: Homeowners who install solar energy systems in their home can get back tax credits at up to 30% the cost of installation. This credit will begin to decrease after 2019 so you may want to act soon if you’re planning on installing solar panels. 

As an added bonus, solar energy can significantly reduce your energy bills! 

10. Hunt Down Every Available Tax Credit: We’ve named several tax credits above, but there are more, including credits for adopting children, the cost of child care and low-income households. Tax credits are more valuable than deductions, as they reduce your taxable income on a dollar-for-dollar basis, so make sure you’re taking advantage of every option. 

11. Get a Pro to Do Your Taxes: No matter how much research you do, a professional may be able to identify tax deductions and credits that hadn’t occurred to you. Paying a reputable professional you trust can help you stay organized and minimize your tax liability. 

This article is a good reminder on how important it is to know the tools you have available for you when it comes to your tax situation. 


And as always, if you or anybody you know could benefit from a FREE CREDIT CONSULTATION give us a call today! 
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