Vail Daily column: Year-end tax-smart investing ideas
As 2016 draws to a close and we move into the holiday season, you probably have a lot going on in your life. But it may be worth your while to take some time to explore a few year-end investment and financial moves that can potentially pay off for you when you file your taxes in April.
Here are a few such moves to consider:
• Boost your 401(k) contributions. Unless you have a “Roth” 401(k), your contributions are made with pretax dollars — so the more you put in, the lower your taxable income. Ask your employer if you can increase your 401(k) contributions for the remainder of the year. (For 2016, you can contribute up to $18,000 to your 401(k), or $24,000 if you’re 50 or older.) Also, if you receive a bonus before the year ends, then you may be able to put that toward your 401(k) too, thus deferring the taxes you’d have to pay on this extra income.
More now, less later
• Add to your IRA. You actually have until April 18 to contribute to your IRA for the 2016 tax year, but the more you can put in now, the less you’ll have to come up with at the filing deadline. Contributions to a traditional IRA are generally deductible, but the deductibility is phased out if your income rises above certain levels. For 2016, you can put up to $5,500 in your IRA, or $6,500 if you’re 50 or older. (Roth IRA contributions are never deductible.)
• Contribute to a 529 plan. When you contribute to a 529 plan, any earnings growth is distributed tax-free, provided it is used for qualified higher education expenses. (However, 529 plan distributions not used for these qualified expenses may be subject to federal and state taxes and a 10 percent penalty on the earnings.) Furthermore, your 529 plan contributions may be deductible from your state taxes.
Generosity is key
• Be generous. It’s certainly the season for giving, and when you make charitable gifts, you can both give and receive. By sending cash to a qualified charity, you can get a tax deduction, but if you look beyond your checkbook, then you might gain even bigger benefits. Specifically, if you donate appreciated securities you’ve held for more than one year to charity, then you can deduct the value of the securities, based on their worth when you make the gift. Plus, neither you nor the charity will have to pay capital gains taxes on the donated investments.
Harvest your taxes
• Consider tax-harvesting opportunities. Try to identify the gains and losses you have realized this year, as well as any gains you estimate may still be paid on some of your investments. By working with your financial advisor and tax professional, you may be able to find some tax-harvesting opportunities, in relation to these gains and losses, which could benefit you.
So, there you have them: some tax-smart ideas you may want to put to use. And if you want to see the benefit on your 2016 tax return, then consider taking action soon.
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial adviser. Edward Jones and its associates and financial advisers do not provide tax or legal advice. Chuck Smallwood, Bret Hooper, Tina DeWitt, Charlie Wick, Chris Murray and Kevin Brubeck are financial advisers with Edward Jones Investments. They can be reached in Edwards at 970-926-1728 or in Eagle at 970-328-4959 or 970-328-0361.