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YEAR END TAX PLANNING AND PREPARATION FOR INDIVIDUALS – Tax Tips for 2004 including new tax relief due to the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004

Now is the best time to start thinking about your year end tax ... These tax ... can be put into effect by the end of the year and some as late as when the tax return is due. Planning now

Now is the best time to start thinking about your year end tax planning. These tax strategies can be put into effect by the end of the year and some as late as when the tax return is due. Planning now will save you money and reduce your tax liability not only with your IRS taxes but also with your state taxes. Here are tax tips that will help you accomplish your goal.

MINIMIZE YOUR CAPITAL GAINS

Review your capital gains and losses for the year including taxable investment accounts and taxable real estate sales. If you have net capital gains, you may want to sell some of your investments that have a loss to offset the gain. You should also check your 2003 tax return for any loss carry forwards to 2004.

NEW SALES TAX DEDUCTION

New in 2004 taxpayers who itemize deductions can now choose between claiming the state income tax or sales tax as a deduction. The IRS will provide optional tables for use in determining this sales tax deduction if tax payers don’t keep their receipts throughout the year. Sales tax paid on motor vehicles and boats may be added to the table amount up to the general sales tax rate.

EDUCATOR’S DEDUCTION

Renewed for 2004 and 2005, eligible educators are permitted an “above-the-line” deduction up to $250 per year for non-reimbursed expenses incurred in connection with books, supplies, computer equipment and supplementary materials used in the classroom.

COMBAT PAY

Due to the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 military personnel receiving combat pay can get larger tax credits in 2004. The new law counts excludable combat pay as income when figuring the Child Tax Credit. The taxpayer also has the option of including or excluding combat pay when figuring the Earned Income Tax Credit. As always, combat pay is excluded from taxable income.

OPEN AN INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT PLAN ACCOUNT (IRA)

See http://www.dgoodmancpa.com/smallbusinessretirementplan.htm#INDPLAN for an example of what you can do to defer income until retirement. You can open your 2004 IRA as late as April 15th of 2005. You may want to consider a Roth IRA. They are not tax deductible but also are not taxable when withdrawn at retirement.

GET ORGANIZED

Clients always ask me what I need in order to do their taxes. For 90% of the population, with a little organization, your tax preparation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. First, when you get those tax documents in the mail, have a folder ready to just drop it in there and forget about it until tax time. Most tax documents are required to be mailed by January 31st so you should have almost everything by the first week of February. If not, call to have them send a duplicate. Next, go through your check book, credit card statements and cash payouts for the basic deductible items. This would include your medical expenses including eye glasses, taxes paid including vehicle registrations, donations and any employer expenses that were not reimbursed. Don’t forget day care expenses, student loan interest and tuition if any of those apply to you.

These are just some tax tips you should consider when thinking about your year end tax planning. If you have a specific question about your particular situation, e-mail me at dianne@dgoodmancpa.com and I will help you muddle through the tax planning issues you may have.

This article was intended to provide general information about year end tax planning. It does not contain all the rules and exceptions that may apply to your situation. If you have further questions regarding year end tax planning, I can be reached at www.dgoodmancpa.com.

Coming Soon - E-mail me at dianne@dgoodmancpa.com and tell me what you would like to know more about. It just might be my next article!

About the Author

Dianne Goodman, CPA –Specializes in servicing Small Businesses and Individuals. Visit www.dgoodmancpa.com for relevant and current information on a variety of financial and tax issues focusing on small businesses and individuals or call at 1-866-531-3035.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Dianne Goodman, CPA
Comprehensive Small Business Solutions, PC
505 323-2307
1 866-531-3035 toll free
http://www.dgoodmancpa.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


About the Author
Dianne Goodman, CPA –Specializes in servicing Small Businesses and Individuals. Visit www.dgoodmancpa.com for relevant and current information on a variety of financial and tax issues focusing on small businesses and individuals or call at 1-866-531-3035.



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