It’s almost Thanksgiving; and we get very excited around Thanksgiving and the holidays, so I want to remind people that we’re getting towards the end of our tax reporting year. Go ahead and start looking at some things that you need to do to take advantage of some things. What we’re doing right now is we’re working with our clients looking at charitable gifts. This is a fun thing we get to do. You want to make those donations by 12/31. Make sure you get a receipt. Make sure you’re giving it to a tax deductible organization (a charitable organization that’s qualified for that).
What can you give? You can give cash, and you can give personal property and items which can count for some value. Most organizations will not put a value on those personal items. You must do that yourself. I tell people: Be reasonable. Don’t overestimate that because that could be a red flag. We also work with a lot of our clients to give away stocks and bonds and mutual funds. We’re looking for those stocks and bonds that have gained in value. We want to give away that gain rather than cash out of them, and then give them the cash. Check with your advisor on that. Check that portfolio. You only need to worry about taxable accounts. We don’t worry about taxes in IRA accounts (retirement accounts).
In those taxable accounts, we look for any losses. We’ve had a few good years in the stock market, so we don’t have quite as many. Watch out for something called the wash rule. If you sell a loser, you can’t buy it back for 31 days or else you lose that tax advantage. If you have mutual funds, they are required to send out all of their dividends and capital gains before the end of the year. That can sometimes surprise people, because you never quite know how much that’s going to be.
Then, look at those medical expenses. Remember, those deductibles start all again January 1st. So get in those annual check-ups before you head out to go shopping and maybe before the holiday meal at Thanksgiving. Renew your prescriptions before the end of the year (if you can).
Look at any kind of credit cards, airline rewards, bonus items. Many of those rewards and points will expire at the end of the year. You don’t want to miss out on any of those.
Before you get caught up in all of the Thanksgiving preparation, take a little time to look at these areas and make sure you take advantage of everything.