Tax season has already started. Many people are scrambling to get all of their documents together for their 2021 tax returns.
If you’re one of those people gathering their tax documents, keep in mind some of the following four ways you can save, now, on your 2021 tax returns:
- Contributing to your retirement account, such as an IRA, may reduce your tax bill by reducing your taxable income (depending on your tax bracket). This works especially if you haven’t maxed out on your 2021 IRA contributions. Your tax deduction is determined by your total income and filing status. You or your spouse may be covered by a retirement account at work- which limits your tax deduction. You can contribute to your IRA until April 15, 2022, so you have time! The limits are $6,000 per year for 50 years old and under and $7,000 per year for people over 50 years old.
- Charitable donations: Donations to qualified charities last year may help you save on your 2021 tax returns. Taxpayers who don’t itemize can also benefit. For the tax year 2021, individual taxpayers may deduct up to $300 in contributions to qualified charitable organizations. Married couples filing together can deduct up to $600 in cash donations made to approved charities. Donations must be made by Dec. 31, 2021. This deduction may reduce your taxable income for 2021 and, in turn, lower your federal tax bill.
- Deduct eligible business expenses: Self-employed business owners must keep detailed business expenses. These expenses may include business meals, business travel, legal fees, computer purchases, subscription fees (Microsoft Word, etc.), accounting fees (QuickBooks, etc.), marketing/advertising costs, and other eligible business expenses. Business deductions lower taxable income, which results in a lower tax bill for 2021.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): this is available for the 2021 tax year dependent on your adjusted gross income (AGI). Income limits vary depending on your filing status, AGI, and the number of dependents. If you qualify for this credit, it may offer significant tax savings.
As you prepare to file your 2021 tax return keep these 4 tax savings tips in mind. Please consult your tax preparer for more information.
AK Burton, PC, knows the current tax laws and how to work with the IRS. Our experienced tax preparers can file your business and personal tax returns and represent you to the IRS. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open. Covid protocols if requested. We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County, MD area.
This year, we have experienced the unexpected.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has ripped through the fabric of our nation, wreaking havoc on our lifestyle. Even with a vaccine just being released as we write this blog, there will still be a time of transition and readjustment. ***
This transitional period is the perfect time for you to re-examine your estate. In our busy lives today, it is easy to prioritize other items and let estate planning slip to the bottom of the list of things to do. The pandemic has provided a time-sensitive reason to prioritize estate planning back to the top of the to-do list. There is a lot outside of our control these days. One thing you can control is making sure that your loved ones are provided for with estate planning.
Here are some tips on estate planning as we enter 2021:
- Life and Disability Insurance: If you have insurance, be sure to update your beneficiaries. If you don’t have life insurance or disability insurance, then buy some this year. Your employer may provide it. If not, research local insurance agents and brokers to see the best policy for you. This is a crucial decision because when you die, you are leaving funds for your spouse and loved ones to pay funeral expenses and other bills.
- Pet Care: Have someone designated to walk and feed your dog or cat. Provide a key and vet name.
- Funeral and burial arrangements: Make your specific funeral service wishes known, including who you want the eulogy, speakers, music, pallbearers, etc. Also, have your burial plot chosen and purchased.
- Retirement accounts: Your beneficiaries should be updated so your savings and investments go to the right person.
- Bank accounts and investments: Your bank should provide a “Transfer on Death” beneficiary of your accounts. Following your death, whoever you have chosen will automatically receive the account. It is good for smaller accounts and assets.
- Digital assets: Someone should be designated to handle your email accounts and any other online accounts such as social media and websites. Have your Financial Power of Attorney keep all your user names and passwords in a file. Keep them updated when you have changed any of the passwords or closed any account.
- Have a “Family Convo”: Get together with all of your immediate family and discuss what happens if you get sick or die. Make arrangements for your spouse and children. Give them the names of your power of attorney and any documents they may need for future arrangements.
- Health Care Directive: Make your final health care plans known to your loved ones. If you want a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) write it down. That and any end-of-life care needs should be expressed clearly.
- Last Will and Testament: This may be last on the list but it should be first on yours. Create a will that spells out specifically any and all property and who should get it.
One of the best gifts you can give your loved ones is security. You reduce intra-family fighting, lawyer expenses, and hard feelings by covering all estate issues before you die. Your family will be grateful to you forever.
At A.K. Burton, PC, our experienced estate planning advisors can help you through every step of the way. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open! We serve Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County. MD area.
*** For more information on how COVID-19 has affected Americans’ finances, see this Forbes magazine article.