Yesterday, I discussed 5 mid-year tax moves you should make for your business. Today, we move to your personal return. Yep, summer is an equally good time to consider it.
Here are 5 items to consider now to build your personal tax return.
- Adjust your payroll withholding.
If you got a big refund this year, or if you owed money, you need to reassess your payroll withholding using Form W-4. What’s wrong with getting a refund? Not much, except that you could have been using or investing that money elsewhere. Letting the IRS hang onto it for months, interest-free, just isn’t smart in the long run.
- Review your estimated tax payments.
If you earn income that isn’t subject to withholding -- from a job, investments, alimony, or prizes -- you need to make estimated tax payments. This is how the IRS ensures you’re paying as you earn.
You don’t want to underpay taxes (you’ll face a penalty) or overpay taxes either (again, Uncle Sam doesn’t pay interest). So, use this summer downtime to reassess your estimated tax situation. Look at what you’ve paid so far and see whether your schedule is still on track. If not, you have enough time left in the year to adjust your payments.
- Contribute more to your 401(k) or other retirement accounts.
If your payroll withholding change means you’re getting more each paycheck, this will be easy to do. If not, find other places in your budget you can trim to allow for more savings. It’s good in the long-term, and provides a nice deduction come tax time.
- Get in the spirit of giving.
Charitable donations are good for the wallet and the soul. We’ve published several articles on the different types of donations (stock, IRA rollovers, trusts, and more) you can make, and how and why each scenario makes financial sense. Plus, you just feel good doing it. Note also that summer tends to be slow for organizations that accept gifts. Your contribution at this time of year will be most welcome as they seek to serve their clients.
- Review your investments.
Most financial advisors agree that letting investments be is the best policy. However, with recent stock market growth, selling some appreciated assets now might make sense.
If you do cash out, the tax man will come. Be sure to consult first with your financial advisor and tax professional before selling any investments.