A Tax Planning List to make your tax prep easier and more accurate.

Brooke Salvini |


Avila Beach in January.

It’s that time of year. Very shortly your tax preparer will be sending you an Organizer for your 2013 tax return.

Just in case you are getting organized early, here are a few of my thoughts on items you might overlook in your preparations which could lead to missed deductions and over payment of taxes.

Make sure you have the correct information for the purchase cost for your investments. You don’t want to pay more capital gains tax than you legitimately owe at the time of sale. If you’ve inherited assets or you just haven’t been a great record keeper this could take a little time so start early.

Thoroughly review all expenses related to rental properties and Schedule C business so as not to overlook any deductions. If in doubt about an item, include it and let your tax preparer help you decide.

If you’ve made charitable contributions of more than $250 ( and you expect to itemize deductions) and you don’t have a written receipt, contact the organization now and obtain a receipt prior to filing your tax return. Otherwise you can’t take the deduction.

Did you drive for charitable or medical purposes? Miles can add up to a larger deduction than you might think.

Expenses paid from Health Savings Accounts are deductible medical expenses. If you or your spouse is over 65, the floor for deducting medical expenses is still 7.5%.

Some or all of your long term care premiums is a deductible medical expense.

Did you provide more than half the support for an individual living in your home for more than 6 months last year who might have been unemployed or earned very little? Let you preparer know, this could create a tax savings.

IRA distributions; if you made contributions to your IRA(s) between 1982 – 1995 document the contributions and let your tax preparer know so that you don’t overpay California tax on current or future distributions.

Don’t forget, you can make an IRA contribution until April 15, 2014.

If you’re self employed with net income last year and you don’t have a retirement plan in place, you can still establish a SEP IRA before you file your taxes.

Do you use a room in your house exclusively for your home office as the principal place of business but haven’t wanted to hassle with this deduction? Let your preparer know, as there is now a safe harbor deduction.

Did you install new energy saving appliances or solar panels last year?

Did you buy an alternative energy car/motorcycle/or other 3 wheeled vehicle? Sounds like fun and a possible tax credit.

Did you pay any household workers more than $1,800?

Children in college and working part-time? Let your tax preparer know, especially if they don’t prepare the returns for all family members, so that they can determine the most beneficial treatment of tax credits between you and your child’s return.

Don’t forget the fees you paid me and all other financial professionals. These are included as miscellaneous deductions on Schedule A if you itemize.

These are just a few items to consider as you’re gathering and organizing your records. The sooner you get started the sooner this chore will be over!

Best Regards,