The Internal Revenue Service is offering some tips to help taxpayers lower their 2011 taxes before the calendar page changes to 2012.
1. Make Charitable Contributions – If you itemize deductions, your donations must be made to qualified charities no later than Dec. 31 to be deductible for 2011. You must have a canceled check, a bank statement, credit card statement or a written statement from the charity, showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution for all cash donations.
2. Install Energy-Efficient Home Improvements – You still have time this year to make energy-saving and green-energy home improvements and qualify for either of two home energy credits. Installing energy efficient improvements such as insulation, new windows and water heaters to your main home can provide up to $500 in tax savings.
3. Consider a Portfolio Adjustment – Check your investments for gains and losses and consider sales by Dec. 31. You may normally deduct capital losses up to the amount of capital gains, plus $3,000 from other income.
4. Contribute the Maximum to Retirement Accounts – Elective deferrals you make to employer-sponsored 401(k) plans or similar workplace retirement programs for 2011 must be made by Dec. 31.
5. Make a Qualified Charitable Distribution – If you are age 70½ or over, the qualified charitable distribution (QCD) allows you to make a distribution paid directly from your individual retirement account to a qualified charity, and exclude the amount from gross income. The maximum annual exclusion for QCDs is $100,000.
6. Don’t Overlook the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit – If you are a small employer who pays at least half of your employee health insurance premiums, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the premiums paid.
And here is one final tip to remember: you should always save receipts and records related to your taxes. Good recordkeeping is a must because you need records to prepare your tax return, and it will help you to file quickly and accurately next year.
For more information: www.onts9.com