The fall is here, but before we’re able to *really* enjoy it around here at Team Hartz, we are carefully working through our roster of 2014 tax returns that were put on extension.
As I mentioned last week — we are still able to set appointments for other matters (like tax planning, etc.), but our focus is pretty strongly set upon these extensions for the next week or so.
But there are a few things that may matter to you for BEFORE October 15th that you might consider:
1) Open and contribute to a SEP retirement plan if you are self-employed and got an extension. This may not apply directly to YOU, but if it does, you should consider it. Contributions to these self-employed retirement plans are above the linedeductions, which means that they directly reduce your tax burden and are very smart vehicles.
2) Re-characterize a Roth IRA conversion? It may have seemed smart last year to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth, but with the way the stock market has been acting recently … perhaps now not so much. You have until Oct. 15th to “undo” this move. This makes sense for some folks, when and if the retirement account lost value since the change. So not only is the Roth worth less (because it lost value), but you owe tax on the converted amount. This reality can erase the reason for the original conversion to Roth.
Let us know if you need help with either of these propositions.
Now … speaking of adjustments to your tax status, one of the things that is sure to come up these next few months is the question of gifts.
I’d love for you to consider what I have to say here, as you ponder this question.
Ann Hartz On How to Win Through Giving
“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!” – Andrew Carnegie
We’re into the final quarter of 2015, and since this is the biggest quarter of the year for giving, I’d like to take the opportunity as one of your financial advisers to make a few points about giving to charity.
Why do you give to charity? Is it for the tax deductions … or for a different reason?
Now, as someone who prepares tax returns, much of what we do is obviously centered around tax avoidance strategies. I have ZERO problem whatsoever in helping my clients use all available strategies to their utmost, ethical advantage. But I love it when I see my clients and friends make giving decisions which seem to run counter to immediate, short-term self-interest.
And, I believe it’s actually enlightened self-interest in the long run. And not just in our sense of feeling good.
I see the balance sheets of people from every walk of life and every kind of income class, and over the years I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon: individuals and families who make giving a priority, even when they aren’t “wealthy” by others’ standards, seem to eventually do better in the long run. And I do mean financially — not just in their state of mind.
(Though, there are great “state of mind” reasons for giving. Have you seen, as I have, that those who freely give seem to be much more pleasant company?)
So, in my line of work, I have made it a point to observe how money works. And, for some reason — money gets attracted to those who aren’t in hot, desperate pursuit of it. It’s almost like in romance — potential lovers are usually turned off by the overly-aggressive seeker.
So, because of (and not despite) the looming fiscal realities in Washington, may I suggest that you consider increasing your giving? You might be surprised by what happens in your heart. And, dare I say, in your balance sheets.
And, of course, we might as well take some good tax deductions while we’re at it — if at all possible. We’re only an email or phone call away for that kind of strategizing.
But don’t make that the contingency for your gifts.
Give more — our world needs it!
Feel very free to share this article with a Des Moines business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Des Moines families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.
Ann M. Hartz, CPA and Associates, CTRS