Lowering your taxes is a lot like eating an elephant, it’s done in lots of small bites. What you can do depends on how much income you have and the sources of that income.
If you are an employee on a W2 and your employer offers a retirement plan like a 401K or a SIMPLE be sure to fully fund the plan. Don’t have a plan you can fund at work? Then fully fund an IRA. If your employer offers a 125 Plan make sure you know how you can use it. You should also consider funding a Health Savings Accounts if offered.
If you’re a business owner make sure that the business entity from which your business operates makes tax sense. Set-up a retirement plan like a 401K or Simple. Put your kids to work and pay them for what they do — moving income from your tax bracket to theirs. Meet with your tax professional before year end to review tax planning moves you can make to reduce your tax bill. Take advantage of tax deductions for business expenses like auto reimbursements, business travel, and others. Don’t miss out on any credits such as those for starting a pension, or health insurance plan.
High income tax payers should consider investment weighted toward tax exempt income, such as interest on municipal bonds or long term capital gains which are taxes at lower rates.
When it comes to taxes timing can be everything; delaying income until after year end delays tax liability of that income into the next year. Don’t wait until it’s time to file your tax return. Have a meeting with your tax professional in October or November when while you still have time to take action.