It’s tax time, but don’t pay more than you have to

By Kevin Theissen
Skygate Financial Group LLC

Who among us wants to pay the IRS more taxes than we have to?

While few may raise their hands, Americans regularly overpay because they fail to take tax deductions for which they are eligible. Here’s a quick look at the six most overlooked opportunities to manage your tax bill.

Reinvested Dividends

When your mutual fund pays you a dividend or capital gains distribution, that income is a taxable event (unless the fund is held in a tax-deferred account, like an IRA). If you’re like most fund owners, you reinvest these payments in additional shares of the fund. The tax trap lurks when you sell your mutual fund. If you fail to add the reinvested amounts back into the investment’s cost basis, it can result in double taxation of those dividends.

Mutual funds are sold only by prospectus. Please consider the charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives carefully before investing. A prospectus containing this and other information about the investment company can be obtained from your financial professional. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

Job Hunting Costs

A tough job market may mean you are looking far and wide for employment. The costs of that search — transportation, food and lodging for overnight stays, cab fares, personal car use, and even printing resumes — may be considered tax-deductible expenses, provided the search is not for your first job.

Out-of-Pocket Charity

It’s not just cash donations that are deductible. If you donate goods or use your personal car for charitable work, these are potential tax deductions. Just be sure to get a receipt for any amount over $250.

State Taxes

Did you owe state taxes when you filed your previous year’s tax returns? If you did, don’t forget to include this payment as a tax deduction on your current year’s tax return.

Medicare Premiums

If you are self-employed (and not covered by an employer plan or your spouse’s plan), you may be eligible to deduct premiums paid for Medicare Parts B and D, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Advantage Plan. This deduction is available regardless of whether you itemize deductions or not.

Inherited Income

If you’ve inherited an IRA or pension, you may be able to deduct any estate tax paid by the IRA owner from the taxes due on the withdrawals you take from the inherited account.

Everyone’s situation differs, so please consult your financial advisor or tax professional.

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Filed Under: Business & Personal FinanceWise Money

About the Author:

Kevin M. Theissen, principal and financial advisor at Skygate Financial Group LLC, has more than 20 years of experience as an investment advisor, wealth manager and tax professional.

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