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8 Categories to Consider When Filing Your Taxes

WebTaxGuideWhen it comes to filing your taxes, there are many different aspects to consider. With tax season approaching, it is important to consider which of the 8 main categories you have to worry about as well as understand how to file your taxes for each. In order to get prepared, we’ve provided a quick overview of the different categories you should consider. 

1. Tax Planning Basics

The first thing to consider when planning your taxes is your marginal tax rate. You also need to look at the alternative minimum tax (AMT). While the AMT typically applies to a higher taxable income base, if not taken into consideration it can potentially result in a surprise down the line. It is also important to review your income, expenses and potential tax liability throughout the year. 

2. Investing

In regards to tax planning and investments, the first step is to understand the potential tax consequences of selling, buying, or holding an investment. After understanding consequences, you need to assess your risk tolerance and desired return in order to make the best investment decisions. You also have to be mindful of the fact that certain actions can trigger the AMT. 

3. Real Estate

There are a number of areas that comprise the real estate section of tax planning that, if you plan properly, can result in tax savings. Is your use of a home office for your employer’s benefit? You may be eligible for a tax deduction if it is the only use of the space. If you rent out a portion (or all) of your residence for 15 or more days, you also may be eligible for tax deductions. 

4. Business & Exec Comp

When it comes to businesses, tax planning continues to be challenging for those involved in the process. Typically businesses are given little time to properly prepare taxes to take advantage of the various tax breaks available. The ACA has required some additional reporting that you must take into consideration when planning. Are you a manufacturer or a business engaged in manufacturing-like activities? You may be eligible for a tax deduction that can be used against AMT.

5. Family & Education

Most of the tax breaks related to children and education that were available for the 2014-2015 tax year will again be available this year. There is also a new savings opportunity for those who have, or have a family member, with a disability. Whether it is general tax credits, education credits, or some other aspect, it is important to be strategic with tax planning early on.

6. Charitable Giving

Do you give to charity? While there are some limitations that can reduce tax benefits, you could be eligible for a variety of deductions based off donation type. In order to maximize these benefits, you should talk to your tax adviser to plan which type of donations are best for you and your favorite charity. 

7. Retirement

Retirement planning can be an arduous task. There are a variety plans that you can choose from as well as sub-plans within those plans. Considering early withdrawal fees is another key aspect to consider as well as what happens to your retirement savings if you leave a job. Addressing a few key questions will ensure that you are able to enjoy your retirement. 

8. Estate Planning

Tax exemptions are at record-high levels for gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfers. However, this could easily change. While you may not need to worry about estate taxes due to the current exemptions, it is still smart tax planning to look into the different elements. State estate taxes are an important component of this category to consider too as the nuances can vary by state. 

Interested in a more in-depth look at these tax planning categories? Click on the button to access our comprehensive Web Tax Guide for all of your tax planning needs, including helpful charts and frequently asked tax questions.

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Peter DeMarco, with nearly three decades of tax planning experience, is a Vice President at Meaden & Moore as well as Director of the Tax Services Group.

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