Just because it’s the holidays, that doesn’t mean you can completely take a break from paying attention to your finances. Here are a few items that need to be done by year-end. By that, I mean DONE, not started. It takes a while for financial institutions to transfer money or act on letters of instruction, so start the process now and avoid December 31st stress.
Tax loss harvesting.
If you have investment losses that you can use to set off investment gains, make those trades before year-end for use on 2017 taxes. This only applies on your non-retirement accounts such as joint or individual brokerage accounts. IRAs, 401(k)s, Roth IRAs and small business retirement plans do not track gains or losses.
Take your Required Minimum Distribution if you are over age 70 ½.
All tax-deferred retirement accounts required an IRS mandated amount to be taken out every year. Your financial institution can help you figure out the amount, but don’t wait until December 30th to start this process. See my blog from earlier in November for more info on donating to charity with your RMD.
Open a small business retirement account.
If you are considering using a Self Employed 401(k) for the 2017 tax year, the plan has to be established by December 31st of this year. You don’t have to fund it until April 15th of the following year, but the account must be open.
Make your charitable contributions.
In order for your donations to be used as a write of in 2017, you need to make them by December 31st. The stock market has been going gangbusters this year, so chances are that you have appreciated stocks/mutual funds in your investment accounts. If so, you may consider gifting shares instead of cash to your favorite charity. This has great tax advantages (see your CPA for more details), but takes more time than just writing a check, so get started now.
Got all that done? Nice work! Now go sit by the fire with some eggnog.