My family cut down our Christmas trees in St. Charles Canyon this weekend. We figured that the weather would be pretty cold and snowy up in the mountains. So, we packed our snow clothes, but the good gloves were missing. My kids hadn’t put them back after they used them a couple of weeks ago. They had to use thin gloves and complained about their cold hands. We woke up to a blanket of snow this morning. Are you ready for the winter weather?
Winter storms remind me that the end of the tax year is coming up for most business and individuals. I need to prepare so that I’ll be ready for tax season. I’m going to be looking at a few areas of our finances:
Non-cash charitable contributions can include toys, cars, clothes, furniture, etc. Here’s the link to the IRS instructions that gives more information for donations that are worth more than $500. Our bookshelves are full. My kids rooms are so full. We are definitely not minimalists and might even be hoarders. I have been putting off Christmas shopping because we don’t have room for more stuff, and I don’t want to buy more stuff that will clutter our home. I’ve decided that we need to get rid of old things to make room for new things. We do a family work project each day. This week we are going to declutter our home. If you itemize deductions on your taxes, decluttering can also provide a tax deduction. Most people know that this is the last month of the year to donate tax-deductible items, but it’s easy to get busy with the holidays and not get around to doing it. I know from experience. So, I’m going to call around this week and find out where these can be donated. We have a van that hasn’t sold, so I started researching about donating cars this morning.
If you have stock that you would like to donate, check with charitable organizations about how to do this. This can be a great way to donate to your charities. I haven’t personally done this, but have seen it done by tax clients, and it can be a great benefit to you and the charity.
You can always donate money to charities, and there are so many people and charities in need of donations at this time of year.
How much did you contribute to your retirement account this year? Remember that you have until April 15th to contribute to your IRAs, but this is a great time to decide on how much that will be. Especially if you make lump sum contributions instead of regular contributions.
You can check with Wasatch Peak’s Financial Advisor, James Aoki at 801-627-8732, for more information on investing for retirement and the services available to help you.
Collect tax documents
One of my friends kept all of her tax related documents in a folder so that it was ready for tax season. I started doing that a couple of years ago, and it really helped me keep track of donation receipts throughout the year. I spend plenty of time searching for lost items, so anything that can help me with this weakness, is great. This could be done electronically by scanning in receipts. I did that for a while. Experiment and see what works best for you. There are a lot of ways to do this. Do you already do this? If so, please share how you do this.
This will depend on you and what’s available at your job. Did you have too much or too little withheld? Do you want to keep the same amounts for your health savings or cafeteria plans? My husband is starting a new job today, which will make us re-evaluate all of our withholdings, but you don’t have to start a new job in order to do this.
By making a few preparations now, taxes won’t catch you off guard.