Year-end Tax Tip. Avoid taxes on an #RMD with a #charitabledonation. Seniors who have a traditional 401(k) or #IRA account must take a required minimum distribution each year once they reach age 70 1/2. Those who don’t need this money for living expenses may want to consider having it sent directly to a charity as a qualified charitable distribution. “If you take it out as a qualified charitable distribution, it doesn’t increase your adjusted gross income,” says Mike Piershale, president of Piershale Financial Group in Crystal Lake, Illinois. “It can also hold down the amount of# that is taxed.”
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for—anything from a down payment for a house to a vacation—then figure out how long it might take you to save for it.
IF YOU THINK YOU’RE PAYING TOO MUCH IN FEDERAL INCOME TAX, YOU PROBABLY ARE! The old paradigm was “Those who can afford the expense, hire Enrolled Agents and Tax Consultants. The new paradigm is, is that you really can’t afford not to. We seek a second opinion on legal and medical matters, but not so much in the area of income tax, the largest burden your government places upon you…Why?
Tip 3: Now that you’ve made a budget, create a savings category within it. Try to put away 10–15 percent of your income as savings. If your expenses are so high that you can’t save that much, it might be time to cut back. To do so, identify non-essentials that you can spend less on, such as entertainment and dining out.
Tip: Considering savings a regular expense, similar to groceries, is a great way to reinforce good savings habits.
Tip 2: Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget. Your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income—so you can plan your spending and limit overspending. In addition to your monthly expenses, be sure to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance.
The first step to saving money is to figure out how much you spend. Keep track of all your expenses—that means every coffee, newspaper, and snack you buy. Ideally, you can account for every penny. Once you have your data, organize the numbers by categories, such as gas, groceries, and mortgage, and total each amount. Consider using your credit card or bank statements to help you with this. If you bank online, you may be able to filter your statements to easily break down your spending.
Whenever there is a disaster such as Hurricane Harvey, the lowlifes show up and try to scam generous individuals out of money intended to go to victims of the disaster. Don’t you be another victim of the disaster – watch out for scammers claiming to represent charitable organizations who will pocket the donations for themselves instead. Besides fraudsters soliciting on behalf of bogus charities, some so-called charities aren’t entirely honest about how they use contributions.
A commonly overlooked requirement of taking a tax deduction for donating clothing and household goods to charity is the substantiation requirement, for both what is donated and the value placed on the donation. Because the IRS has encountered so much abuse in this area, it has increased the donation verification requirements over the years, and taxpayers risk losing the deduction if their donations are not correctly documented and reasonably valued.