Although the year is almost over, you still have time to take steps that can lower your 2015 taxes. Now is a good time to prepare for the upcoming tax filing season. Taking these steps can help you save time and tax dollars. They can also help you save for retirement. Here are three year-end tips from the IRS for you to consider:
1. Start a filing system. If you don’t have a filing system for your tax records, you should start one. It can be as simple as saving receipts in a shoebox, or more com- plex like creating folders or spreadsheets. It’s always a good idea to save tax-related receipts and records. Keeping good records now will save time and help you file a complete and accurate tax return next year.
2. Make Charitable Contributions. If you plan to give to charity, consider donating
before the year ends. That way you can claim your contribution as an itemized deduc-
tion for 2015. This includes donations you charge to a credit card by December 31, even if you don’t pay the bill until 2016. A gift by check also counts for 2015 as long as you mail it in December. Remember that you must give to a qualified charity to claim a tax deduction. Use the IRS Se- lect Check tool at IRS.gov to see if an organization is qualified. Make sure to save your receipts. You must have a written record for all donations of money in order to claim a deduction. Special rules apply to several types of property, including clothing or household items, cars and boats. For more about these rules see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.
3. Contribute to Retirement Accounts. You need to contribute to your 401(k) or similar retirement plan by December 31 to count for 2015. On the other hand, you have until April 15, 2016, to set up a new IRA or add money to an existing IRA and still have it count for 2015.
The Saver’s Credit, also known as the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit, helps low- and moderate-income workers in two ways. It helps people save for retirement and earn a special tax credit. Eligible workers who contribute to IRAs, 401(k)s or similar workplace retirement plans can get a tax credit on their federal tax return. The maximum credit is up to $1,000 for singles and $2,000 for married couples. Other deductions and credits may reduce or eliminate the amount you can claim.
Securities America and Kelley & Mullis Wealth Management do not provide tax advice; therefore, it is important to coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.