As 2013 comes to a close, there are a few things we can do before the end of the year to save money on our taxes.
But, a bit of caution, some people may get smaller refund checks for 2013 than they received for 2012.
There are a lot new tax changes this year. Some brought on by the Affordable Care Act.
So many people in the upper income brackets could receive a smaller refund check.
But there are a few things we can try and reduce our taxes in these last few days of the year.
Adding up what you give to others at the end of the year may help you receive more money back on your taxes.
CPA Charles Nelson said "the end of the year is very good for charities, not only from a tax-planning standpoint but with the holidays, they're very giving, and they like to give to the charities at those times."
You can also give back to yourself by setting aside more money for your future.
"By putting it into a retirement plan, it actually reduces your income so you get a pre-tax deduction for that, it saves you tax, right from the beginning," Nelson said.
With new taxes in effect this year, some people will receive less money back from the federal government than in years past.
"With the Affordable (Health) Care Act, there were a lot of changes with the insurance and medical industry, but there were also a lot of tax changes. People are going to see some new taxes in 2013. People who had the same income in 2012 and 2013, they're going to possibly pay a lot more taxes in 2013," Nelson said.
But paying your january mortgage payment now is another way to save.
"Iif they make their mortgage payment this month, they get a deduction for that interest this month. If they pay their real estate taxes this month, they get deduction for the real estate taxes and the donations,"Nelson said.
The holidays may be a good time to start another annual tradition, preparing for our taxes.
"Many times when they start to do their taxes they wish they had made some payments the prior year. With the holidays, there's a lot of activity going on so taxes aren't always at the top of people's minds, but with only a few days left, they should be thinking about what they can do to in the next few days to maximize their tax savings for 2013,"Nelson said.
The increase in taxes mostly affects people in the upper tax brackets.
That includes a 0.9 percent Medicare tax, an increase in the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 20 percent, and a reduction or phasing out of itemized deductions and exemptions at higher income levels.
Remember, any donations, contributions to your retirement accounts or any other deductions you might take need to be completed by December 31st. But you can set up a new IRA or add to it by April 15th.
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