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End of Year Tax Planning by Kelly J. Bullis

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Well Howdy folks! I sincerely hope you all had a GREAT Thanksgiving! We do have so much to be thankful for.

One of the things I am thankful for is that we have finished updating all our office computers operating system to a newer version of “doors” (not the real name to protect the innocent). I haven’t noticed any improvement in productivity yet though. (I thought new computer stuff always meant new tools that make us more productive. This time, it just looks different, but still runs all the same programs it did before… hmmm have we reached a point in technology changes that we upgrade just because its time to rather than to improve the way we work? Just wondering…)

Getting on to some end of year planning issues you need to know about before the year runs out.

Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is for folks with IRAs who are 70 ½ old or older. There is a penalty of 50% of the RMD not taken. Work with your IRA plan administrator to compute the RMD and take it out before the end of 2013. The formula is actually pretty simple, you start with each of your IRA balances at 12/31/12, divide each by the factor of your age (found on an IRS table in Publication 590). You can take the sum of these RMD amounts from any IRA you pick. Good news, if you turned 70 ½ in 2013, you can delay the distribution for 2013 until April 15, 2014. (Works only for the first year of RMD, from there on out you must take the RMD for a year sometime in that year, not after. Beware though, that makes two years RMDs taxable in one year, which might bump you into a higher tax bracket or trigger the new Obamacare 3.8% Medicare Tax.)

ROTH IRA owners are NOT subject to RMDs. (Another reason to consider converting an IRA into a ROTH IRA.)

If you do not have an IRA (or ROTH IRA) yet, but want to start one, you have until April 15, 2014 to start and contribute to that IRA and get a deduction (no deduction for ROTH IRA) on your 2013 return. Don’t wait until the last minute though; some IRA plan administrators may have difficulty processing the paperwork in time.

Just about everybody (with a job) can still make contributions to retirement plans already in place. Check with your plan administrators and your CPA on how much you can contribute. Maximize those contributions! Get a tax deduction now, the money grows tax-deferred, and hopefully when you retire, you will pull it out at a lower tax bracket.

Are you tired of high utility bills and want to do some energy efficient upgrades to your home, you may still have time. You could get up to a 30% credit for installing a geothermal heat pump, small wind turbine or solar energy system in your home. There is no upper limit, so get the best system you can and save 30% of the cost, compliments of Uncle Sam. (This works for 2014 and beyond too.)

Finally, for those of you who itemize, large purchases (cars, appliances, furniture, etc.) means paying a lot of sales tax. Save those receipts so you can deduct the sales tax you pay.

Now I hope you all go out and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Did you hear? Being “merry” sometimes starts with being forgiving.

Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at Also on Facebook.

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